Apple's Clever Move: Circumventing Watch Import Ban by Nixing Blood Oxygen App

Apple’s Clever Move: Circumventing Watch Import Ban by Nixing Blood Oxygen App

Apple seems to have found a clever loophole to get its latest Apple Watch models back on US store shelves. Remember that court order banning imports of the Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches? Well, by removing one little app – Blood Oxygen tracking – Apple has made the ban null and void.

US border officials recently gave the company the green light, determining the watches no longer violate rival health company Masimo’s patents without that blood oxygen feature installed.

Now, Apple hasn’t confirmed details publicly. But behind the scenes, stores are apparently already stocking modified Series 9 and Ultra 2 models with the controversial app deleted. Just waiting on executives for the final sale approval.

This all started back in October when a court upheld a ruling that Apple infringed on Masimo’s pulse oximeter patents. Cue the ban on those watches through Christmas and into early 2023.

But clearly Apple wasn’t about to ditch its latest hot products completely. Enter plan B – tweak the software just enough to skirt the import restrictions.

It might frustrate health-conscious users missing out on key tracking abilities. But for Apple, keeping the core watch functions intact is likely worth the tradeoff.
Ironically, Apple originally touted blood oxygen scanning as a major selling point when it first introduced the tool back in 2020. Now the company seems more than happy to toss it overboard.

Of course, the court could still reinstate the fuller ban, if officials decide this watch “redo” doesn’t pass muster. For now though, it’s a big win for Apple in this nasty patent war with Masimo.

And Apple watch fans can breathe easy (no pun intended) knowing their beloved wearables will likely be back on store shelves very soon. Albeit with slightly downgraded features.