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Is President Biden preparing to announce a Christmas gift for Apple tomorrow?

In a surprising turn of events, Apple has removed the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models from its online U.S. store and in its physical Apple Stores in the U.S. However, these models can still be found at other retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon until they are sold out. This removal comes ahead of the 60-day presidential review period following an import ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 devices announced by the ITC, set to end on Christmas Day. The ban was imposed after Apple was found to have infringed on patents held by Masimo for the pulse oximeter used on these watches.

The second-generation Apple Watch SE is not subject to the import ban as it does not contain a pulse oximeter. Should President Biden decide not to veto the exclusion order, Apple could attempt to bring back the watches by either disabling the pulse oximeter on the affected models or reaching a settlement with Masimo and acquiring a license for the patent.

Apple engineers are also reportedly working on replacing the algorithm and other software related to the pulse oximeter with new code that does not infringe on Masimo’s patents. However, as the patents are hardware-related, making changes to the software may not be enough to evade the ITC exclusion order.

Hypoxemia, a condition characterized by low oxygen levels in the blood, can be detected by a pulse oximeter. Normal blood oxygen levels typically range from 95% to 100%, so readings below this range can be indicative of potential heart or lung issues. The decision from the White House on whether President Biden will veto the exclusion order is eagerly anticipated, with the outcome reminiscent of a similar case involving Apple and Samsung back in 2013.

As of now, there is no clear indication from the White House on which way President Biden is leaning. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.

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