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Apple-Masimo legal battle could put a damper on the Apple Watch maker’s health care plans

In an internal memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, Apple said it is "aware of" and "investigating" a touch-related issue affecting some Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 displays.

In his latest “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple’s Apple Watch blood oxygen war with Masimo could hurt the company’s future health-care plans.

The company was again forced to stop selling watches with blood oxygen tracking. Last week, a federal appeals court shot down Apple’s request for a longer pause on the International Trade Commission ban taking effect. That left Apple with two choices: pulling the watch again or just removing the feature. The tech giant chose the latter, which it accomplished with a software tweak.

Will this drive users away from purchasing an Apple Watch. Gurman doesn’t think so, though the whole legal battle is embarrassing for Apple because:

° 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.

° More importantly, though, the patent battle probably throws some of Apple’s future health capabilities into question. I reported last year that one of the big new health features coming in 2024 was sleep apnea detection. 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

This info from Gurman is from the free edition of “Power On”. If you like it, consider subscribing to Bloomberg.com—you’ll receive the newsletter earlier and get exclusive access to a Q&A section.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.