Apple Inc. AAPL has halted the sale of smartwatches that come with blood oxygen tracking. However, this move could reportedly influence the company’s future healthcare ventures, said Mark Gurman, in the latest installment of his weekly newsletter “Power On.”
What Happened: Apple’s decision followed a federal appeals court’s denial of a request for an extended halt on the International Trade Commission ban. Faced with the alternatives of either pulling the watch off the market or disabling the feature, Apple chose the latter for its U.S. clientele.
This marks the first instance of a firm successfully persuading the ITC to ban an Apple product in the US, compelling the company to eliminate a feature.
The ongoing patent dispute casts a shadow over Apple’s future health capabilities.
Last year, Gurman reported that sleep apnea detection, requiring dependable blood oxygen data, was among the significant new health features expected in 2024.
“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,” said Gurman.
Why It Matters: Apple’s move to dodge the import ban on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 has sparked criticism from the head of Masimo Corp. MASI, the firm that initiated the patent infringement lawsuit against Apple.
In an interview earlier this week, Masimo Corp.’s CEO Joe Kiani expressed his belief that Apple Watch users are better off without the blood oxygen monitoring feature. Kiani argued that the feature was unreliable on Apple’s latest smartwatches due to the ongoing patent dispute.
“Apple is masquerading what they are offering to consumers as a reliable, medical pulse oximeter, even though it is not,” he said, adding, “I really feel wholeheartedly that consumers are better off without it.”
Photo courtesy: Apple
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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.