The new year didn’t start well for the Apple Watch, as a patent dispute with medical tech firm Masimo forced Apple to disable its blood oxygen sensor in every Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 that it sells. For a company with so much money and power, that’s got to hurt.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop buying Apple Watches – at least, according to CEO Tim Cook anyway. In a new interview with CNBC (via AppleInsider), Cook said people shouldn’t hold back from splashing their cash on the company’s smartwatches. As the Apple CEO explained during the discussion, “There’s lots of reasons to buy the watch even without the blood oxygen sensor.”
To be fair to Cook, he’s not entirely wrong. The Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches in the world right now and has been for years, and it’s jam-packed with class-leading features that help it stand above its rivals. Even without the now-disabled monitor, it’s still got plenty to offer.
But it still seems unusual for the head of a massive company like Apple to feel the need to remind people why they should buy one of its most popular products. Perhaps Apple is feeling the pressure from its patent dispute with Masimo – and we can see why.
No end in sight
The passage above was not all Cook had to say on the matter. When asked whether Apple was looking to settle with Masimo and license its patented tech, Cook was unequivocal: “We’re focused on appeal,” the CEO said, seemingly ruling out the possibility of any kind of speedy end to the proceedings. And that suggests that the litigation could drag on for months or more. Without an end in sight, Apple’s blood oxygen monitor could be absent for a long while yet.
That could perhaps dull its appeal to some users. While Cook is right that there are a lot of other excellent reasons to buy an Apple Watch, if you wanted one specifically for the blood oxygen sensor, your options are more limited now.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s totally impossible to get an Apple Watch with the monitor anywhere at all. Apple may have been banned from selling watches containing the feature, but third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy are free to continue trading existing stock. So, if you’re really after this feature, you can simply go there and pick one up instead.
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Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.