Apple Downgrades The Apple Watch Series 9 And Ultra 2 For New Buyers – Forbes

In the latest chapter of the Apple Watch saga, Apple has begun selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 without its blood oxygenation feature onboard.

This is the result of an ongoing case raised by Masimo, which claims Apple infringed its patents in the creation of Apple’s blood oxygenation feature.

The feature has been expunged from Apple’s U.S. website, no longer visible on the devices’ spec sheets.

The two motes of good news are that this only affects Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S., and that existing owners of Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 wearables can still use the blood oxygenation feature.

Will that still be true in three months’ time? That is not clear at present.

Apple will not have made any hardware changes to make this happen, a move that itself would be extremely costly and take some time. Instead, it will have disabled the feature on a software level.

According to 9to5Mac, the app used to take blood oxygenation readings will still be there, but it won’t work.

“The Blood Oxygen app is no longer available. Learn more in the Health app on your iPhone,” is the message you’ll see, according to the site.

Apple is clearly hoping this will be a temporary state of affairs, but recent developments in this story have not come down in Apple’s favor. This is not a new story either.

Masimo accused Apple of infringing its patents in 2021, following the release of the Apple Watch Series 6. This was the first model with blood oxygen readings.

The bad blood runs deeper than that, though. Masimo accused Apple of stealing trade secrets in January 2020, according to Bloomberg, and sought to have the Apple Watch Series 5 pulled off sale.

The relationship between the two companies goes much further back than this, too. A former Masimo employee, Marcelo Lamego, was accused of taking company secrets and divulging them upon being employed by Apple in 2014. And, sure enough, in 2022, a Californian district court ruled Lamego “misappropriated trade secrets,” according to Businesswire.

This feud is a decade old, and it’s only in the last few months it has become so public and had such an impact on Apple’s business.

The FTC ruling that Apple did indeed use Masimo patents landed in October 2023, and its appeal to the ITC to avoid an import ban came late that same month. This ban was temporarily lifted by a U.S. appeals court in December. But a sales ban was reinstated on January 17 by the same U.S. appeals court, which is the catalyst for this latest move by Apple.

This may be the status quo until the appeal of the original ITC ruling goes through the process, which could reportedly take up to a year to happen. As such, it is likely to affect not only current models but the next generation, too. The Apple Watch Series 10 is expected to be pencilled in for a September 2024 announcement.

Source: Read More  

Author (if provided):

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *