APPLE is locking away the blood oxygen feature in the new Apple Watch’s a bid to dodge an import ban, according to reports.
US Customs and Border Protection has approved the measure, according to Bloomberg, which would allow Apple to sell both products in the States.
However, Apple has not released an official statement.
The Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 were banned in the US late last year as part of a patent dispute with Masimo.
US’ market watchdog the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that the blood oxygen sensors in both devices infringed on patents from Masimo.
Once the ban came into effect on 26 December, Apple was granted a temporary pause, allowing it to resume sales while it waited on the US Customs and Border Protection to assess its changes.
Since then, Apple has been racing to make changes to the watches that would allow them to be sold in the US while avoiding Masimo’s patents.
“Apple’s claim that its redesigned watch does not contain pulse oximetry is a positive step toward accountability,” Matt Whewell, director of Global Communications at Masimo, told The Verge via email.
The Sun has contacted Apple for comment.
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However, an Apple spokesperson told The Verge that the feature appears to still be active on watches already sold.
It’s unclear how long it will be available in the US.
But since the rights granted by a US patent do not extend to the UK – or any other territory – the features shared by the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will be different on each side of the Atlantic.
UK users will not be affected by the patent, and therefore, will still be able to use the blood oxygen feature on their Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 devices.
US vs UK
It’s not the first time a difference has emerged between Apple products in the US and the UK.
At the launch of the iPhone 15 lineup in September last year, it was revealed there would be a slight difference in the appearance of the iPhone 15 in the US and the UK.
Only eagle-eyed Apple fans spotted it at the time, but the change was a result of the company scrapping physical SIM cards in the US and adopting eSIMs only.
Then in October last year, it was announced that the Apple Wallet would be hosting some UK-exclusive perks.
At the time, US users were envious of the UK’s open banking system, which is why the feature was launched in the country.
However, UK users were quick to point out that the Apple Card – the company’s very own credit card – is only available in the US.
Equally, Apple Cash, which is a feature letting users send and receive money in Message or Wallet, is only accessible to US users.
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