Apple begins selling Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without the blood oxygen feature

Earlier today, a US appeals court rejected Apple’s request to pause the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 ban as the company appeals an ITC ruling that the Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor infringes on two patents held by medical device company Masimo.

Under this decision, Apple will be barred from selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 with pulse oximetry features starting tomorrow, January 18 at 5 p.m. ET.

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Apple, however, has a plan. The company tells 9to5Mac that it will begin selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States without the blood oxygen feature tomorrow.

Here’s Apple’s full statement to 9to5Mac:

“Apple’s appeal is ongoing, and we believe the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should reverse the USITC’s decision. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting orders.

Pending the appeal, Apple is taking steps to comply with the ruling while ensuring customers have access to Apple Watch with limited disruption. 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.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 without the Blood Oxygen feature will become available from apple.com starting 6am PT on January 18, and from Apple Stores starting January 18.”

Apple says that these Apple Watch models will still include the Blood Oxygen app, but when a user taps on it, they’ll see a message reading: “The Blood Oxygen app is no longer available. Learn more in the Health app on your iPhone.” When they go to the Health app on their iPhone, they will see a link to a support article on Apple’s website.

The US Customs agency ruled earlier this week that this proposed Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 software change to remove the blood oxygen features falls outside the scope of the ITC ruling. The change is done via a firmware update to the Apple Watch.

This is the route that Apple is taking in an effort to continue selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States as the legal battle with Masimo and the ITC continues. Apple has previously said that the appeals process could take over a year.

This change does not impact anyone who already owns an Apple Watch with the blood oxygen features. It also only applies in the United States.

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