In an unexpected turn of events, Apple has embarked on a strategic pivot with its latest Apple Watch update on the models Series 9 and Ultra 2. This decision emerges as part of a broader effort to navigate the choppy waters of a legal dispute with Masimo, a renowned medical technology firm.
The crux of this development revolves around the contentious pulse oximetry feature, a vital tool for monitoring blood oxygen levels.
Apple Watch Update: Apple’s Legal Dilemma
The story begins with a legal squabble between Apple and Masimo, culminating in a drastic measure: Apple’s readiness to modify its newest Apple Watch update iterations. This move, as unearthed in a document filed by Masimo with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, involves the removal of the pulse oximetry functionality from new and unsold Apple Watch models. This revelation on the latest Apple Watch update, first reported by MacRumors, underscores the gravity of the situation.
At the heart of this legal tussle is a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which had imposed an import and sales ban on Apple Watches in the U.S. The ban initially paused and threatened to resume this month. Apple’s latest maneuver aims to circumvent this ban, stemming from allegations of patent infringement concerning the pulse oximetry technology.
Apple Watch Update: A Tactical Redesign
According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, Apple has begun shipping modified versions of the Apple Watch to retail retailers in the United States as a response to the deadlock that has previously been encountered. Even though it was swift, this action demonstrates Apple’s unwavering dedication to preserving its market position despite the difficulties posed by regulatory authorities.
There is, however, a lack of clarity around the specific timing for when these watches will be available for purchase inside the market.
Apple is now selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without blood oxygen feature in the US due to the patent dispute.
The feature remains enabled on already sold Apple Watches pic.twitter.com/AfWaLMxsxy
— Dexerto (@Dexerto) January 18, 2024
Notably, Apple’s official website continues to list the features, especially the Blood Oxygen monitoring app feature for the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models in the U.S. This discrepancy suggests a temporary suspension of this feature rather than a permanent removal. Current owners of these models are likely to retain access to the feature, and its availability in markets outside the U.S. appears unaffected.
Apple Watch Update: Apple’s Proactive Strategy
In what can be seen as a proactive move, Apple is not just stopping at hardware modifications. The tech giant is simultaneously working on a software update aimed at tweaking the Blood Oxygen app’s algorithms in the sold Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. This initiative, likely a direct response to Masimo’s patented technology, could pave the way for a resolution to the ongoing legal dispute.
Masimo, for its part, has acknowledged and commended Apple’s recent steps. A company spokesperson lauded Apple’s decision to redesign its watch, noting, “Apple’s claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability.”
Apple’s strategic decision on its latest Apple Watch update to alter its flagship Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models underscores the complexities of navigating patent laws in the tech industry. This development, while disruptive, also highlights Apple’s agility in responding to legal challenges, ensuring its products continue to reach consumers amidst ongoing legal battles.
As the situation evolves, all eyes remain on Apple and Masimo, eagerly anticipating the next chapter in this intriguing corporate narrative and Apple Watch update.