Sales of Apple Watch Models With Blood Oxygen Sensors to Be Halted in the U.S.

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple has announced that it will soon halt sales of its flagship Apple Watch models in the United States.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will no longer be available to purchase from Apple starting later this week.

The move comes following an ITC ruling as part of a long-running patent dispute between Apple and medical technology company Masimo around the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor technology.

Nilay Patel on Threads:

No shade to Chance or 9to5 which are both great but it is pretty intensely irresponsible for Apple to not have a full press release on this extremely material market moving news — an unnamed spox giving a background statement saying the Apple Watch won’t be on sale anymore to one enthusiast outlet is uhhhh

The “enthusiast” description seems unfair: 9to5Mac is not merely an Apple fan blog; its writers regularly produce original reporting and are routinely critical of Apple. But the substance of Patel’s post is absolutely true. It is deeply weird that Apple issued an anonymous statement to a niche publication announcing it will soon stop selling a flagship product, which is usually the kind of thing it would want to tell the Wall Street Journal or CNBC.

John Voorhees, MacStories:

If I had to guess what’s going on here, I’d say it’s a high-stakes game of corporate chicken. Masimo got a ruling from the ITC that gave it leverage, so they asked for a big licensing deal. The Biden administration probably doesn’t want to deal with the dispute or look like it’s bailing out a big tech company, so I bet it told the parties to work things out, assuming Apple would pay up. Whether it ultimately will, only Apple knows, but it’s decided to force the Biden administration’s hand on the veto. […]

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Work within Apple suggests that the company believes software changes — rather than a more complicated hardware overhaul — will be enough to bring the device back to store shelves. But the patents at the heart of the dispute are mostly related to hardware, including how light is emitted into the skin to measure the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood.

Gurman says sales of refurbished Series 8 models — “refurbished” being the only way that model remains available from Apple — will also be halted because it, too, has blood oxygen capabilities.