Apple may drop pulse detection from future Smartwatches due to patent case
Apple is anticipated to discontinue the ability of its flagship smartwatches to detect people’s pulse rate following a recent patent case loss. The court ordered Apple to halt the sale of its Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 devices due to infringement of a rival company’s blood-oxygen measurement technology. Rather than ceasing sales, the company is seeking permission to continue selling the devices after removing the infringing technology. Analysts speculate that individuals with existing watches capable of detecting their pulse will still be able to use that feature. Moving forward, the affected watches would continue to offer a variety of other features, such as run tracking, timers, and fall and irregular heart beat detection. Apple’s response to these developments is pending. The International Trade Commission found that several of Apple’s watches had violated patents held by medical technology company Masimo, resulting in a ban on the import of Apple’s watches. Apple has appealed the ruling, but their request to delay the ban on watch sales was rejected in court. As a result, the company has secured approval from U.S. customs to continue selling the watch after making technical modifications to remove the infringing technology. These changes mark a temporary setback in Apple’s efforts to enhance the health features of its watches. In 2018, the company gained FDA approval for its watches to measure heart rates through electrocardiogram tests and has since added features to detect falls, crashes, and pulse rates. Masimo, a leader in pulse oximeter technology, accused Apple of poaching its top talent and introduced its first watch with pulse oximetry in 2020. Masimo took its complaints to the International Trade Commission in 2021, and a ruling from the appeals court is anticipated this year.