I’m not affected by Apple Watch fiasco

By Alex P. Vidal

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”—Alan Kay

FRANKLY speaking, we don’t give a damn.

This was what came into my mind as I randomly checked several products in the popular Apple store at Macy’s Queen’s Boulevard branch during a quick visit December 23 evening.

I’m referring to Apple’s unprecedented decision to remove a hugely popular versions of its bestselling smartwatch from store shelves to get ahead of what could be one of the most momentous patent disputes in quite some time.

Unlike many Americans head-over-heels for Apple Watches and who considered the fiasco as some sort of a national tragedy, I wasn’t affected. I have no reason to sob in the first place.

I have long given up using the expensive Apple Watch ever since I discovered other non-Apple brands with cheaper prices also carried the same features such as Apps, GPS, fitness tracking, mobile wallet, heart rate detection, gesture control, notifications, and display technology.

In fact, for a price of one Apple Watch Series 9 GPS, I was able to get online three non-Apple brands with almost identical features.

The Apple Watch furor actually stemmed from the recent ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that found Apple in violation of medical company Masimo’s pulse oximeter patent.

That technology uses light to read blood-oxygen levels. Apple introduced a pulse oximeter feature utilizing that method in 2020 in its Apple Watch Series 6 lineup.


According to Rob Beschizza of Boingboing, Apple has already stopped selling the Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 online and was taking them off store shelves before Christmas Day.

The company is warehousing the gadgets because another company, Masimo, convinced the U.S. International Trade Commission to block imports on the grounds that it infringes patents Masimo holds on measuring blood oxygen, a feature of the high-end devices, revealed Beschizza.

The companies are doing legal battle in several different venues, with the ITC ruling following a mistrial in federal court after Masimo failed to convince a jury of its claims.

Apple has separately sued Masimo for patent infringement. The Verge’s Emma Roth explains a complex web of litigation. On the most obvious question, Beschizza said Masimo is not a non-practicing entity (i.e. it’s not a patent troll) and has various similar medical products on offer.

This particular story started about 10 years ago when Apple reached out to Masimo about a potential partnership around blood oxygen features on its wearables.

Soon after, Apple reportedly poached several Masimo engineers and its chief medical officer. And then in fall 2020, Apple released the Apple Watch Series 6–its first Apple Watch to feature an SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen saturation levels.

Because the patent dispute relates to the SpO2 sensor specifically, Apple can continue to sell its more affordable Apple Watch SE, which does not come equipped with the sensor.

The feature debuted on the Apple Watch Series 6 released in 2020 and has appeared in every flagship Apple smartwatch since. Apple has also pulled refurbished versions of two prior watches with SpO2 sensors, the Series 7 and Series 8, from its online store.

Two special editions of the Series 9, the Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermes, have also been pulled.


HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Mark Twain was already a literary legend when his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn debuted in America to a tepid commercial and critical response. But the classic coming-of-age tale, chronicling the antebellum adventures of tweenager Huck and the runaway slave Jim, eventually brought Twain acclaim for his explorations of racism.

SAVING OUR PLANET: Let’s recycle appliances. If we’re not selling them on, let’s make sure we recycle our household appliances rather than throwing them away. Second-hand shops will often take them for parts, or we may ask our gov’t offices for advice on recycling program. Big terms are difficult and costly to dispose of and recycling centers will take them off our hands for free.

SEXUAL STIMULUS PACKAGE (“Pleasure Recession”). A new survey by Trojan reveals that 71 percent of Americans want sex that’s more satisfying, and 53 percent of Americans describe their sex lives as depressing, lukewarm, and predictable.

ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER. Much of America was still in the dark in the late 1800s. Yes, Thomas Edison had perfected his lightbulb, and power plants were being built, but there was a link missing between the two – a way to convert the higher voltages into lower ones.

SAVING OUR PLANET: Let’s bag the bags. Plastic bags start as petrochemicals, which are transformed into polymers and are, in turn, heated, shaped, cooled, flattened, sealed, punched, and printed on, all of which require energy. But still only .6 percent of plastic bags are recycled, with the USA alone throwing away 100 billion bags a year. Make a difference by recycling.

SAVING OUR PLANET: Let’s be a paper doll by always recycling paper. Each time paper is recycled, the individual cellulose fibers become shorter. On average, a fiber can be recycled seven times before it is too short to combine with other fibers.

(The author, who is ow based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)