Apple Watch Series 10, Ultra 3 Major Update Now In Jeopardy, Insider Claims – Forbes

Apple Watch has been in the headlines recently, with a sales ban affecting U.S. sales and a new version of the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra now on sale. It’s all down to medical device maker Masimo claiming Apple had infringed its patents with its blood oxygen monitoring feature—a feature which has now been removed from the latest models on sale in Apple’s stores. Now, it looks like that issue could affect the 2024 releases.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, the recent move to remove the blood oxygen feature by tweaking the software meant that Series 9 and Ultra 2 could stay on sale was only the beginning of the issue.

Gurman calls it a software tweak and says, “The shift was easy enough: Apple already sells watches with certain health features disabled due to regulatory rules. It just had to flip that same switch for blood oxygen in the U.S.”

But, beyond that, the question remains whether the absence of this feature will affect sales of the two Watches. Gurman says, “I don’t think it will. But it’s still causing some problems for Apple. For one, it’s a huge embarrassment. The head of Masimo Corp., which kicked off this whole process by suing for patent infringement, is going on TV bashing Apple, asking for apologies and touting his own products. He’s in a unique position among Apple rivals. No other company has successfully gotten the ITC to ban the sale of an Apple product in the US and make the mighty iPhone maker pull a feature.”

The blood oxygen monitoring feature introduced on Apple Watch Series 6.


And there’s a more important ramification which affects this fall’s batch of Apple Watches. According to Gurman, one of the big new health features coming to Apple Watch Series 10 and Apple Watch Ultra 3, assuming that’s what we’re looking forward to seeing, is sleep apnea detection—which is an important health metric, for sure.

Gurman says, “Everything I know about determining sleep apnea suggests that getting solid blood oxygen data through the night is critical for an accurate result. So, the battle over the sensor probably casts doubt on that too—at least, for now.”

I’m less sure about that than Gurman. I believe Apple will be working on other ways to bring blood oxygen tracking back to the next Apple Watches, though I don’t know if this will be down to artful software or a new sensor. Either way, if it can achieve that, then sleep apnea will be back on the agenda. Apple will not want its internal roadmap to be blown off course. Other wearables track sleep apnea, so Apple is certainly up to the task.

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