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Apple is expected to remove a health feature from the new Apple Watches

Apple is expected to remove a health feature from the new Apple Watches

Apple is expected to start selling its flagship smartwatches without the ability to detect people's pulse rates.

The tech giant is likely to abandon the facility after it lost a patent case on its blood-oxygen measurement technology two months ago. The court ordered Apple to stop selling its Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 devices. Instead of ceasing sales, the company asked for permission to continue selling the devices after removing the infringing technology.

Although Apple has not yet revealed what it plans to do, this change should not affect smartwatches in use. Analysts said people who have an Apple Watch that is able to detect their pulse will continue to use that feature. The Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will continue to offer a range of other features, including the ability to track runs, set timers, and detect falls and irregular heartbeats.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

In October the International Trade Commission found that several Apple Watches infringed patents held by Masimo, a medical technology company in Irvine, California, that had helped pioneer some pulse oximeter technology. It banned the import of Apple watches, which are made in Asia.

Apple has appealed the decision, but on Wednesday lost its attempt in court to delay enforcement of the ban on sales of its watches until an appeals court rules on the dispute. As a contingency, it received clearance from US Customs to continue selling the watch after making technical changes to remove the infringing technology.

The deal would be a temporary setback for Apple's efforts to increase the usefulness of its watches by adding health features. In 2018, the company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its watches to begin measuring heart rate through electrocardiogram tests. It later added capabilities to detect falls, accidents, and people's heart rates.

The new features push Apple deeper into the world of medical devices, which is dominated by companies like Medtronic and Abbott. Massimo held several patents on pulse oximeter technology, which measures the percentage of oxygen carried from the lungs to the body by red blood cells.

In court, Massimo said that Apple had discussed acquiring the medical device company, but instead decided to take over Massimo's top executives and employees. In 2020, Apple introduced its first watch with pulse oximetry.

The following year, Massimo took it to the International Trade Commission complaining that Apple had stolen its technology. The appeals court is expected to deliver its verdict this year,

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2024/01/17/multimedia/17apple-watch-fpmc/17apple-watch-fpmc-facebookJumbo.jpg

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