Apple is trying perform software updates of the Apple Watch’s algorithms that measure blood oxygen levels to avoid an imminent ban on the smartwatch in the US due to a patent dispute. Changing the way the Watch measures oxygen saturation could help keep the Watch on store shelves during the holiday shopping season, according to Apple.
Blood oxygen sensorwhich was first introduced with the Apple Watch 6 in 2020, is at the heart of a patent dispute between Apple and another California company, Masimowhich Apple sued in 2021. Masimo claims that Apple’s sensor infringes two patents regarding the blood oxygen monitoring that he owns. In October, the International Trade Commission (ITC) said that Apple has indeed infringed Masimo’s patents.
The case was then referred to the White House for a 60-day presidential review that ends next week. Unless President Biden vetoes ITC decision, Apple will be banned from selling Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, which have a blood oxygen sensor. Apple has said that if the veto is not passed, it will stop selling both Apple Watch models on its website on December 21st and in retail stores in the US on December 24th.
Although Masimo is open to a deal with Apple, Apple doesn’t seem to have plans to do so and is working on changes to the watch’s software. However, Masimo let it be known that she doesn’t think a software update should help because her patents do not concern software but hardware. But redesigning the Apple Watch’s hardware would be much more demanding for Apple than modifying the software, and could take up to three months.