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

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Top Rated Comments

MASTERNC Avatar
23 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
23 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
23 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
23 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
23 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
23 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)