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Friday, May 17, 2024

Apple decides to remove the blood oxygen monitoring feature

This decision comes in the midst of an ongoing legal battle over patents related to the technology behind the feature.

Apple has decided to remove the blood oxygen monitoring feature from its flagship Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models in the United States. This decision comes in the midst of an ongoing legal battle over patents related to the technology behind the feature. The move could have significant implications for Apple, as the blood oxygen monitoring feature was marketed for fitness purposes, adding a health-centric dimension to its popular smartwatches.

Legal Battle Unfolds

The decision to remove the blood oxygen monitoring feature stems from a legal dispute between Apple and medical technology company Masimo. Masimo successfully secured a decision from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in December, leading to a halt in the import of Apple Watches, which constitute about a quarter of the global smartwatch market, according to Counterpoint Research.

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Implications for Apple

Analysts had anticipated that Apple might disable the blood oxygen features on the affected models rather than pulling them from the market. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Apple, prompting the company to take the drastic step of removing the feature altogether. This move is expected to impact sales in one of Apple’s largest markets and may pose challenges to its dominance in the smartwatch industry.

Financial Impact

Following the court ruling, Apple’s shares closed 0.5% lower at $182.68. The company, which reported $39.84 billion in Apple Watch sales out of its overall $383.29 billion in fiscal 2023, is now forced to navigate a complex legal landscape. The decision to remove the blood oxygen monitoring feature is a strategic move to comply with the court’s ruling, but it remains to be seen how this will impact Apple’s bottom line and its share in the smartwatch market.

Masimo’s Perspective

Masimo’s founder and chief executive, Joe Kiani, expressed satisfaction with the court ruling, emphasizing the importance of respecting intellectual rights. The decision highlights that even tech giants like Apple must face consequences when found infringing on others’ patents. This victory for Masimo could set a precedent in the tech industry, highlighting the significance of upholding intellectual property rights.

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For consumers, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models sold in the US will still display an app icon for the blood oxygen feature, but users tapping on these icons will be notified that the feature is no longer available. Apple enthusiasts and fitness enthusiasts, in particular, may be disappointed by the removal of this health-focused feature. The ongoing legal battle adds an element of uncertainty to Apple’s future product releases and could influence the company’s approach to incorporating new technologies into its devices.