Apple to sell some watches without blood oxygen feature after US court ruling

Nishita Gupta
Nishita Gupta January 18, 2024
Updated 2024/01/22 at 8:58 AM

Apple said on Wednesday it would remove a blood oxygen monitoring feature from two flagship Apple Watch models in the U.S. as the iPhone maker fights a legal battle over patents on the technology behind the feature.
The legal fight could take a year to resolve, and analysts had expected Apple would strike the feature, which is marketed for fitness uses, rather than pull devices from sale in one of its biggest markets.
The company said Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models without the feature would go on sale on its website and stores starting at 6 a.m. Pacific Time (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
Apple shares closed 0.5% lower at $182.68 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Wednesday the company could no longer sell the models at the center of a the legal battle with medical technology company Masimo
In December, Masimo secured a decision from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt imports of the devices. Apple Watches comprise about a quarter of the global smartwatch market, according to Counterpoint Research.
In a statement, Joe Kiani, Masimo’s founder and chief executive, said the court ruling on Wednesday “affirms that even the largest and most powerful companies must respect the intellectual rights of American inventors and must deal with the consequences when they are caught infringing others’ patents.”
Apple said it “strongly disagreed” with the ITC decision and resulting orders and they should be should be reversed.
Existing Apple Watches are not affected by the orders, nor are devices sold outside the United States.
Series 9 and Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S. from Thursday will still have an app icon for the blood oxygen features. But when users tap those icons, they will informed the features are unavailable.


Ben Bajarin, chief executive of analyst firm Creative Strategies, had expected Apple to disable the blood oxygen features on its Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watch models in the U.S. rather than stop selling the wearable devices.
Apple does not break out Apple Watch or U.S. sales figures specifically, but about 42% of its overall revenue came from North America last year.
While Apple Watch sales are far smaller than those of Apple’s flagship iPhone, the device anchors the company’s wearables sales segment, which accounted for $39.84 billion of Apple’s overall $383.29 billion in sales for fiscal 2023.
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