Apple May Sell Series 9 and Ultra 2 Watches Without Blood Oxygen App in U.S. Amid Patent Dispute

Apple has readied modified Apple Watch models that "do not contain pulse oximetry functionality," medical technology company Masimo said in a document filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

apple watch series 6 blood oxygen monitoring 1
The filing, viewed by MacRumors, suggests that Apple will be removing the Blood Oxygen app from new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S., at least temporarily. This change would allow Apple to sidestep an import and sales ban on Apple Watch models with blood oxygen sensing, which the U.S. International Trade Commission ordered last year after ruling that Apple violated Masimo's pulse oximetry patents. The ban was already temporarily paused shortly after it began last month, but it could have resumed as early as this month, which likely spurred Apple to take this measure.

Apple has started shipping modified Apple Watch models to retail stores in the U.S., according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, but it's unclear when they will go on sale. Apple has yet to respond to our request for comment.

Apple's website still advertises the Blood Oxygen app as an available feature on the Series 9 and Ultra 2 order pages in the U.S. as of writing. The feature can measure and display your body's blood oxygen percentage, and is intended for "wellness purposes only." Existing owners of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will likely retain access to the feature, and it is not expected to be removed on models sold in other countries.

The feature's removal is likely a stopgap, as Gurman reported that Apple is preparing a software update that would adjust the Blood Oxygen app's algorithms, in an attempt to avoid Masimo's patented technology. It's unclear if this effort will be successful, and the legal battle between Apple and Masimo is likely far from over.

"Apple's claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability," a Masimo spokesperson told MacRumors. "It is especially important that one of the world's largest and most powerful companies respects the intellectual property rights of smaller companies and complies with ITC orders when it is caught infringing."

Tag: Masimo
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

6 weeks ago
Would be nice if Apple offered a discount since these watches will likely be worth less come trade-in versus those with the technology
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TokyoKiller Avatar
6 weeks ago
Only if Apple would admit fault and pay their dues for using someone else’s technology.

At least it’s not a patent troll that’s giving them grief.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roland.g Avatar
6 weeks ago
The Series 9 is already an 8.2, wasn’t even worth considering over my Series 4.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
henryhbk Avatar
6 weeks ago
As a physician I am happy they are turning it off, since it basically is a mysterious number to non-physicians, Understanding what that number means and what to do about it except in VERY SPECIFIC situations (like you are in an airplane that depressurizes like the AL flight that popped the door plug) is meaningless to most patients. There are also a couple of life threatening situations where it fools you that all is fine when your life is in imminent danger, the most classical one you learn in medical school is CO poisoning since CO shows as "oxygen" to the sensor and patients will read 100% when in fact they need oxygen to try and force the CO off the hemoglobin (we measure CO2/CO via a arterial blood gas). Additionally the other day my staff told me an asthmatic was hypoxemic with a low oxygen saturation but was now showing 97% after they'd given him a nebulizer before i could get into the room (but they didn't understand an asthmatic absolutely should not be hypoxemic, their problem is exhaling not inhaling and nothing should interfere with absorbing oxygen in asthma, and that represented a huge emergency and that the fact that they magically made the number better meant nothing). I get that from nursing all the time (patient is is respiratory distress but their sats are "ok," so it's not that serious, where that's rarely the issue, you don't breathe from low oxygen but from high CO2 (makes your blood acidic which drives the sensor in your brain) so not helpful in any situations (there are of course many situations where it matters such as heart failure, pulmonary embolism, etc but there is a reason we train for a long time to understand those numbers properly)
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
6 weeks ago
The fact that they kept selling and even introducing two more generations after the dispute was already filed in 2021 (if I am not mistaken?) is kind of dumb on Apples part tbh
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
75Batt Avatar
6 weeks ago

Would be nice if Apple offered a discount since these watches will likely be worth less come trade-in versus those with the technology
Not likely at all. It’s a temporary software fix that can be re-enabled in future.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

When Will Apple Release iOS 17.4 for iPhones?

Friday February 23, 2024 11:56 am PST by
Apple has been beta testing iOS 17.4 for nearly a month now. Below, we explain when the update is likely to be released to all users. In its press release announcing major App Store changes in the EU, which were implemented in response to new regulations under the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released at some point in March:Developers can learn about these...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...