Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will no longer offer the company’s blood oxygen feature on both models in the US, according to the company. In order to dodge a looming US ban on its latest smartwatches, Apple has disabled the pulse oximetry feature on its smartwatches, which infringe on patents held by medical technology firm Masimo. As a result, customers who purchase these two models in the US will not be able to measure their blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels.
Masimo CEO Joe Kiani told Bloomberg that Apple had not reached out to the medical technology firm to discuss a settlement amid the ongoing legal dispute between both firms. Apple has appealed a ruling of the International Trade Commission (ITC) in October that said the company infringed on Masimo’s patents related to pulse oximetry, a feature that was first introduced with the Apple Watch Series 6.
Earlier this week, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Apple could not sell both models with the blood oxygen feature, while refusing to pause the import ban during the appeal period. As anticipated, Apple has disabled the blood oxygen sensor on its Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 that are sold in the US, to dodge the ban.
This means that both smartwatches in the US will still ship with a blood oxygen sensor, but its functionality will be disabled. The feature will also be disabled via the Watch app. Meanwhile, Apple has also updated its product pages for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 in the US with a banner that informs customers the blood oxygen feature isn’t available on those models, while it has also disappeared from the company’s feature comparison charts for different models.
It is important to note that the restrictions on the blood oxygen feature only applies to customers in the US, which means that the feature will work on the same models sold in other countries, including India. If Apple and Masimo resolve the patent dispute in the future, the iPhone make should be able to activate the functionality once more, as the company has merely deactivated the hardware on these models.