Apple recently had to stop selling its two latest watches, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, in the USA, following a patent dispute with medical tech company Masimo. While it’s obviously a blow for Apple right now, there’s also a suggestion that this could damage the anticipated Apple Watch 2024 update.
According to Marc Gurman in his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, this Apple Watch ban could affect the development of a new feature to track sleep apnea. “Everything I know about determining sleep apnea suggests that getting solid blood oxygen data through the night is critical for an accurate result,” he says, “So the battle over the sensor probably casts doubt on that too — at least, for now.”
While we expected the upcoming Apple Watch X release date to bring a large design overhaul, this health metric was also among two big new features, alongside blood pressure tracking. To sidestep the current ban, Apple has simply turned off its blood oxygen tracking feature on the Apple Watch in the US – but if it can’t find an alternative way to track it without infringing on Masimo’s patented tech, it might also have to skip sleep apnea tracking.
The original Apple Watch X design changes also came from a report by Gurman. He suggested that the new watch would be similar to the iPhone X shift that Apple made in 2017, bringing significant design changes as well as new hardware treats, like a micro-LED display.
Of course, we can’t tell what the future holds, but it’s sure been a rocky few weeks for Apple. To find some tech from the other side of the fence, check out the best Samsung phones, the best Google Pixel phones, and the best Xiaomi phones. Or, if you’re more concerned with the next Apple smartphone, check out our guide to everything we know about the iPhone 16 so far.