In a response to a looming U.S. ban, Apple Inc. AAPL has decided to release a variant of its latest watches without the blood oxygen feature, ensuring that sales in the country’s market remain unaffected.
The decision comes in the wake of an intellectual property dispute with Masimo Corporation MASI, a medical device company, which led to a temporary halt on sales of Apple’s watches in the U.S. in December 2023.
The International Trade Commission had found that Apple’s blood oxygen watch sensors infringed upon patents held by Masimo. Although an injunction blocking the ban was lifted by an appeals court, the ITC’s decision is still being appealed.
The modified watches will display an alert directing U.S. users to Apple’s website when they tap the blood oxygen icon. The lack of a blood oxygen sensor could potentially deter some customers.
“Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC.
“These steps include introducing a version of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the United States without the Blood Oxygen feature. There is no impact to Apple Watch units previously purchased that include the Blood Oxygen feature.”
Why It’s Important: With the hope that the decision will be reversed, allowing the original watches back on the market, Apple could be facing a wait of over a year. In fiscal 2023, Apple reported a substantial $39.8 billion in wearables sales, the report noted.
This latest move by Apple effectively mitigates the immediate threat posed to the sales of its latest smartwatch models. However, it’s crucial to note that this decision is not final and could be overturned if the ITC disputes it.
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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.