Tag Archives: Apple Watch

Apple Files Appeal After Biden Administration Allows US Ban On Watch Imports



Apple on Tuesday appealed a decision to ban imports of its watches based on a complaint from medical monitoring technology company Masimo after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration declined to veto a government tribunal, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, the tech giant also filed an emergency request on Tuesday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to halt the ban.

It asked the Federal Circuit to pause the ban at least until U.S. Customs and Border Protection decides whether redesigned versions of its watches infringe Masimo’s patents, and to put the ban on hold while the court considers Apple’s request. The customs office is due to make its decision on Jan. 12, Apple said.

Masimo has accused Apple of hiring away its employees, stealing its pulse oximetry technology and incorporating it into the popular Apple Watch, according to Reuters.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) order bars imports and sales of Apple Watches that use technology for reading blood-oxygen levels. Apple has included the pulse oximeter feature in its smart watches starting with Series 6 model in 2020.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative posted the following on December 26:

USTR Statement on Section 337 Review

“On October 26, 2023, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple, Inc. infringed two patents owned by Masimo Corporation and Cercacor Laboratories, Inc., both based in the United States. Since 2005, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has been delegated by the President’s authority under Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 to review the ITC’s decision for a 60-day period. After careful consultations, Ambassador Tai decided not to reverse the ITC’s determination and the ITC’s decision became final on December 26, 2023.”

9TO5Mac posted a statement it received from Apple about this decision:

“At Apple, we work tirelessly to create products and services that meaningfully impact users’ lives. It’s what drives our teams – Clinical, Design, and Engineering – to dedicate years to developing scientifically validated health, fitness and wellness features for Apple Watch, and we are inspired that millions of people around the world have benefitted greatly from this product. We strongly disagree with the USITC decision and resulting exclusion order, and are taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”

In my opinion, it seems that Apple would strongly prefer that it be allowed go ahead and bring in its newest Apple Watch to market in the United States. Unfortunately, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the Biden Administration, appear to not be inclined to cater to Apple’s concerns.


Apple Plans Major “Watch X” Overhaul For Device’s 10-Year Anniversary



Apple’s next line of smartwatches is expected to be a minor upgrade. Behind the scenes, though, the company is working on a revamped “Watch X” update for the device’s 10th anniversary, Bloomberg reported.

According to Bloomberg, we’re now able to map out Apple’s full line of future M3 chips based on app logs, and trademark listings confirm that the company considered the Reality Pro name for its headset.

Apple is planning a “Watch X” model to mark the device’s 10-year anniversary, and it promises to be the biggest overhaul yet. (The category was unveiled in 2014 and released the following year, so Apple is planning to launch a Watch X in either 2024 or 2025.)

With the X model, Apple designers are working on a thinner watch case and have explored changing the way the bands are attached to the device. The company has explored a new magnetic band attachment system, though it’s unclear if it will be ready or used in the Watch X revamp.

Even bigger changes are coming as well: a microLED display that tops the color and clarity of the current OLED screens, as well as a technology for monitoring blood pressure.

Cult of Mac reported that Apple is looking at a new watch band mechanism for the first time since the smartwatch launched. The existing system takes up a lot of space that could be better utilized by fitting in a bigger battery or other internal components. So, Apple has seemingly researched a magnetic band attachment. However, it is unclear whether it will be ready for the Watch X’s launch.

Regarding the potentially radical Apple Watch redesign, Apple did something similar with the iPhoneX launch in 2017. Released to celebrate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, it brought a new design – the first without a Home Button – and other significant upgrades.

9to5 Mac reported that the Apple Watch X is scheduled to launch in 2024 or 2025, in line with the device’s 10th anniversary. The update will represent the biggest redesign of the Watch ever, following several years of minor changes (the Apple Watch Series 9 this fall will also be a minor spec bump generation).

The Verge reported that rumors have swirled around a brighter, more colorful microLED screen for the Apple Watch for months, but the screen technology is new and incredibly expensive. Apple has its work cut out for it when it comes to getting a shrunken-down, affordable version of the tech into its smallest-screen device.

The Verge also noted that Apple has reportedly been planning a blood pressure sensor for the Apple Watch for years, and that may come just in time for the 10-year anniversary of the wearable as well.

Personally, I tend to take these kinds of announcements as a “wait and see.” We won’t know for certain whether or not what has been written about Watch X turns out as reported. Apple could potentially surprise us with features yet unknown, or drop the project.


Apple Watch Series 6 Can Measure Blood Oxygen Levels



Apple announced Apple Watch Series 6. It features a Blood Oxygen Sensor and app. That addition was an excellent decision on Apple’s part considering that it appears that a low blood oxygen level might have something to do with COVID-19.

“Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being.”

The Blood Oxygen sensor compensates for natural variations in the skin and improves accuracy by employing four clusters of green, red, and infrared LEDs, along with four photodiodes on the back of the Apple Watch, to measure light reflected back from blood.

Apple Watch then uses an advanced custom algorithm built into the Blood Oxygen app, which is designed to measure blood oxygen between 70 percent and 100 percent. On-demand measurements can be taken while the users is still, and periodic background measurements occur when they are inactive, including during sleep. All data will be visible in the Health app, and the user will be able to track trends over time to see how their blood oxygen level changes.

A person’s blood oxygen level has important information not just related to COVID-19, but also to other health issues. Apple will be collaborating with the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to examine how longitudinal measurements of blood oxygen and other physiological signals can help manage and control asthma.

In addition, Apple will work with the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network to better understand how blood oxygen measurements and other Apple Watch metrics can help with management of heart failure.

Investigators with the Seattle Flu Study at the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine and faculty from the University of Washington School of Medicine will seek to learn how signals from apps on Apple Watch, such as Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen, could serve as early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499.


Apple Announced Apple Watch Series 5



Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 5. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) is available to order in 41 countries and regions and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) is available to order in 22 countries and regions. Both models will be available in stores starting on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Apple Watch Series 5 has an Always-On Retina display that never sleeps. It makes it easy for people to see the time and other information without raising or tapping the display. Apple says the watch face has been carefully optimized for the new display and to preserve battery life, the screen intelligently dims when a user’s wrist is down and returns to full brightness with a raise or a tap. The Apple Watch Series 5 offers “all-day 18-hour battery life”.

It also has a built-in compass and updated Maps app to allow users to see which way they are facing. The new Compass app shows incline, latitude, longitude and current elevation. I can see where this could be useful for people who are traveling or sightseeing.

One of the most useful features, in my opinion, is International Emergency Calling. Users with cellular models of Apple Watch Series 5 can complete international calls to emergency services, regardless of where the device was originally purchased or if the cellular plan has been activated. It works with fail detection, if enabled, to automatically place an emergency call if Apple Watch senses the user has taken a hard fall and remains motionless for about a minute.

Another useful feature will come with watchOS 6, (which will be available for Apple Watch Series 3 and later on September 19, and on Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 later this fall), is a Cycle Tracker. It gives customers the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles, see predicted timing for their next period and fertile windows using the convenience of Apple Watch. I’m hoping Apple makes this information extremely private, because some people who menstruate could be put in danger if their data was revealed.

There is also a Noise app that helps users understand the ambient sound levels in environments such as concerts and sporting events that could negatively impact hearing. I don’t think most people fully understand how loud those events can be until they are walking out after it is over with ringing ears. Perhaps this app can help save people’s hearing by pointing out the dangerously loud noise.

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) starts at $399 (US) and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499. The Series 3 (GPS) with built-in GPS, optical heart rate sensor and water resistance starts at a new low price of $199 and Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) is $299.


Stanford Medicine Announced Results of Apple Watch Study



Stanford Medicine announced the results of the Apple Heart Study. The study was funded by Apple. There were over 400,000 participants in the study.

The study was launched in November of 2017, and was a first-of-its-kind research study using Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib). The condition often remains hidden because many people don’t experience symptoms.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Overall, only 0.5 percent of participants received irregular pulse notifications, an important finding given concerns about potential over-notification.
  • Comparisons between irregular pulse-detection on Apple Watch and simultaneous electrocardiography patch recordings showed the pulse detection algorithm (indicating a positive tachogram reading) has a 71 percent positive predictive value. Eighty-four percent of the time, participants who received irregular pulse notifications were found to be in atrial fibrillation at the time of the notification.
  • One-third (34 percent) of the participants who received irregular pulse notifications and followed up by using an ECG patch over a week later were found to have atrial fibrillation. Since atrial fibrillation is an intermittent condition, it’s not surprising for it to go undetected in subsequent ECG patch monitoring.
  • Fifty-seven percent of those who received irregular pulse notifications sought medical attention.

As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a telehealth consultation with a doctor, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring.

In short, it appears that the Apple Watch is able to detect AFib. This is good news, because it means people can take that information to their doctor and start a discussion about what to do next. It does not mean people should rely entirely on the results the Apple Watch gives them and avoid seeing a doctor.


Unboxing and Review: iXCC Stand for Apple Watch



iXCC StandEarlier this year, I bought a refurbished Apple Watch Series 2 from the online Apple Store. It’s a cool device. But it shipped with the bare essentials, including the watch, a small manual, and a magnetic battery charger.

That meant that, when I needed to charge my Apple Watch, I had to set it on a table like this:

Apple Watch on table

And doing that technically works. But it’s kind of an inelegant solution. It also looks just plain awkward. That’s why I was excited to receive an iXCC Stand for Apple Watch. The manufacturer of the stand recently sent me a review model in exchange for posting my thoughts on the device here at Geek News Central.

The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch works with both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches (I have the 42mm version). The iXCC Stand comes in a white box that contains the stand and a small booklet that shows how you can connect with the manufacturer online, if needed.

iXCC Stand original box iXCC Stand and booklet iXCC Stand and bookletUsing the iXCC Stand for Apple Watch is a straightforward process. The stand itself doesn’t have any built-in electronics. Instead, the stand has a path molded into its design that allows you to run the Apple Watch’s stock magnetic charger thru the stand, with the magnet at the top. This diagram from the back of the box tells you everything you need to know:

iXCC Stand Diagram

It takes a little time and effort to get the magnetic adapter cable to slide into place. But once it’s in, it’s good and doesn’t feel like it’s just going to fall out of place. When that’s done, all that’s left to do is to place the Apple Watch onto the stand. Tuck the lower part of the watch band underneath the head of the stand, and the Apple Watch easily magnetizes to the charging adapter.

iXCC Apple Watch charging

That looks a lot better than just resting the watch on the table! I know for sure the watch is charging because the charging indicator is lit on the watch, and the watch also made its signature charging tone when I placed it onto the stand.

The only negative I’ve found with the design of this stand is that, when you go to remove the watch from the stand, the magnetic adapter slightly pops out of the stand. But it’s easy enough to just push it back in. Also, it might be possible to alleviate this condition by placing some pressure down onto the stand next to the watch with one hand while removing the watch from the stand with the other.

Overall, I’ve found this to be a simple and effective stand for charging and displaying my Apple Watch when the watch isn’t in use. The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch retails for $7.99 at Amazon and other online retailers.


Kanex Wins with the GoPower Watch at CES



Kicking off GNC’s video production for CES, Todd’s at award-winners Kanex with Tracy, who shows off some of their latest accessories for the Apple Watch.

Kanex won a “Innovation Honoree” at CES 2017 for their GoPower Watch, a portable battery charge for the Apple Watch. Priced at US$99 and shipping now, the GoPower Watch will wirelessly recharge a Watch around six times from the 4,000 mAh battery. There’s a USB port round the back for charging other devices too and it’s Apple Certified as well. A mini-version with a smaller battery and smaller price (US$59) is coming shortly.

For those who don’t need to charge on the go, Kanex have a table-top charger for the office or beside the bed coming shortly. It’s US$59 and will be available in February.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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