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Apple drops blood-oxygen feature from new watches 

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Apple will no longer include the blood-oxygen level detection feature in its flagship smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2.

This decision follows Apple's loss in a recent patent case with the medical technology firm Masimo.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) found certain watches infringed on patents held by Masimo.

The company specializes in pulse oximeter technology.

The court ordered Apple to halt the sale of the affected devices, prompting Apple to seek permission to continue selling them by removing the infringing technology. 

As a result, the tech giant will now sell these smartwatches without the ability to measure blood oxygen levels.

The feature will be visibly removed in the Blood Oxygen app for new users in the US.

Existing users with Apple Watches capable of blood-oxygen-level detection can continue to use this feature without interruption. 

The affected models, Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2, will still offer various other features.

It includes run tracking, timers, and capabilities to detect falls and irregular heartbeats.

The USITC 's decision stemmed from a finding in October that Apple Watches had violated Masimo's patents, leading to a ban on their import

Despite Apple's appeal to delay the ban until the appeals court ruling, the company lost the effort in court. 

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Customs will continue selling the watches temporarily, pending technical changes to eliminate the infringing technology.

Appeal later this year

This development marks a setback for Apple's ongoing efforts to enhance the health-related features of its smartwatches.

In recent years, Apple secured FDA approval for electrocardiogram tests and introduced functionalities such as fall detection and blood oxygen level measurement. 

The dispute with Masimo involves allegations that Apple poached executives from the medical device company after failed acquisition discussions. 

The appeals court is expected to provide a final ruling on the case later this year.

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