Apple’s Watch Dilemma

The tech giant Apple has announced the cessation of sales for its latest Apple Smartwatches—Series 9 and Ultra 2—in U.S. retail stores from Christmas Eve, with online sales ceasing from Thursday. This decision comes after a legal battle with Masimo, a U.S.-based leading medical technology company, concerning the Blood Oxygen feature integrated into these devices.

The development stems from two orders issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on October 26, 2023. These orders would impose restrictions on Apple’s ability to market products employing the Blood Oxygen feature. Although customers in the U.S. won’t experience an immediate impact on their access to purchasing these watches, Apple has initiated this pause in advance to ensure compliance with the ITC ruling.

According to ITC policy, the White House holds a 60-day period to review such restrictions, ending on December 25. However, Apple’s proactive action aims to align with the order if it stands. Notably, existing owners of the affected Apple Watches will encounter no disruptions, and the availability of these models outside the U.S. remains unaffected.

In an official statement, Apple said that it “strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.” Whereas Masimo in its official statement said that the ITC ruling shows that “even the world’s most powerful company must abide by the law.”

What does the Blood Oxygen feature do?

The feature that is at the heart of this dispute, measures the percentage of oxygen carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the body. Providing insights into overall health and wellness, this function aids users in understanding the oxygenation levels within their bloodstream.


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