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Apple may disable the blood oxygen functionality in Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2

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.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple plans work around the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 by disabling the blood oxygen functionality in the smartwatch models (at least for now).

In a filing on Monday with the Federal Circuit, attorneys for Masimo say that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope of” the ITC ruling. Apple’s redesign, however, is to remove the pulse oximetry features from newly sold devices, says 9to5Mac.

From Masimo’s filling: On Friday, January 12, the Exclusion Order Enforcement Branch (EOE) of U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope of the remedial orders in the ITC Investigation underlying Apple’s appeal.

In Apple’s request under 19 C.F.R. Part 177 (in a portion it did not identify as confidential), Apple explained “that its Redesigned Watch Products definitively (i) do not contain pulse oximetry functionality…” Because Apple has maintained that certain information in the EOE proceeding is confidential, Masimo does not provide a copy of the decision with this letter. Currently, no public version of the decision exists.

Masimo, a medical tech firm, and Apple are in an longing legal battle in which the former alleges the latter unlawfully incorporated its pulse oximetry tech into the Apple Watch. Apple removed the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from its online store on December 21. There was a brief ban on the import of such models into the U.S., but it’s been temporarily paused

And Bloomberg reports that Apple is plotting a “rescue mission” for the $17 billion business that includes software fixes and other potential workarounds. The article says that engineers at the company are racing to make changes to algorithms on the device that measure a user’s blood oxygen level — a feature that Masimo claims infringes its patents. They’re adjusting how the technology determines oxygen saturation and presents the data to customers, according to Bloomberg.

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.