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Apple Beats an Apple Watch Lawsuit

Apple Beats an Apple Watch Lawsuit

In recent months, Apple has grappled with a series of lawsuits concerning the fate of its popular Apple Watch line. But this week, the company had a victory. As reported by Reuters, a federal judge ruled in Apple’s favor and dismissed an antitrust lawsuit that claimed that Apple had illegally monopolized the United States market on heart rate apps for the Apple Watch.

AliveCor, a medical device and AI company, filed the lawsuit in 2021. It claimed that Apple had abused its market power by injuring competition and engaging in “predatory” and “exclusionary” conduct related to the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. The judge’s reasoning is currently not available due to confidentiality concerns, but the decision should be released at some point.

This is a separate lawsuit from the one filed by the medical tech company Masimo. As we previously reported, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) barred Apple from selling the Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 due to a patent infringement claim concerning the technology in the watch’s blood oxygen sensor. Apple appealed and was granted a temporary stay, but in January 2024, the US Court of Appeals declined to extend the stay further.

For the past few months, the company has been grappling with last-minute workarounds to avoid breaking the law. Since the ban only applies to Apple directly, you can still buy the watches with the blood oxygen sensor intact from other retailers for as long as supplies are available; otherwise, Apple has disabled the sensor and started shipping modified watches earlier this year.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, AliveCor noted that it plans to appeal the ruling. The company also notes that it still has another, entirely separate, ongoing suit regarding the ECG sensor that will be reviewed in upcoming months. In 2015, the company showed Apple its ECG sensor with the intention of future collaboration; then in 2018, Apple launched its own ECG sensor. The ITC ruled that Apple infringed on AliveCor’s technology. That case never resulted in a ban.

This week’s decision was a setback for smaller companies hoping to take on the tech giant. The good news for Apple Watch owners, though, is that their devices won’t lose any functionality, as they did as a result of the Masimo dispute.(And even then, if the blood oxygen sensor doesn’t matter to you, then the more affordable Watch SE never had that capability in the first place.) We will continue to update our Best Apple Watches guide with the best guidance we have at the time.

8 Best Heart Rate Monitors (2023): Chest Straps, EKG, Watches

8 Best Heart Rate Monitors (2023): Chest Straps, EKG, Watches

Those days of getting a heart rate reading only when you visit your physician are truly a thing of the past. You don’t even have to spend big money or leave your home to get a sense of your heart rate during exercise or at rest.

The rise of optical and EKG (electrocardiogram) sensors that can now reliably deliver that information from your wrist, chest, or arm means you can better understand how hard you hit it in that boot camp class and get a window into the most stressful periods of your day.

Updated December 2023: We’ve added the Coros and Viiiiva heart rate monitors, plus the Fitbit Charge 6 tracker.

For more sports and fitness guides, check out the Best Fitbits, Best Fitness Trackers and Watches, Best Running Gear, and the Best Wireless Earbuds for Working Out.

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6 Best Lubes (2023): Water-Based, Silicone, and Dispensers

6 Best Lubes (2023): Water-Based, Silicone, and Dispensers

I’ll scream it from the mountaintops as many times as I have to: Your bedroom should have a bottle of lube! Ideally more than one. Whether you’re flying solo or with a copilot(s), too much friction is a bad time for everyone. Even if it doesn’t seem like you need a lubricant, you’d be better off using a little just to protect yourself from chafing and micro-tears on sensitive tissues.

We’ve tested a handful of different kinds of lube, and below you’ll find our top recommendations. Be sure to check out our Best Sex Toys and Best Vibrators guides for more picks.

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Should You Buy an Active Chair? I Tested Some—and Talked to the Experts

Should You Buy an Active Chair? I Tested Some—and Talked to the Experts

You’ve probably come across the term “active chair” or “active seating” over the past few years. These seats are billed as a countermeasure to the sitting epidemic—numerous studies have shown that sitting for hours at a time worsens health, increasing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Pandemic lockdowns increased the prevalence of remote work, which often translated to more time in front of screens and less daily activity. Since remote and hybrid work are here to stay, a slew of companies are introducing “active” chairs that promise to inject some movement into your day. So how exactly do they work? 

Active chairs come in various forms, but the most common is an adjustable stool with a seat base that can rock to varying degrees. You keep yourself balanced—with your feet on the ground—and as the seat tilts, you engage your core muscles to stay upright, all while writing that email or Slack message. Companies liken these adjustments to the kind of low-level physical activity that can alleviate the effects of prolonged sitting. 

I have tested several active chairs now, with mixed results. After I spoke to a few kinesiology experts—people who study the body’s movement—the consensus seems to be that active chairs may work for in short bursts, but there are better (and free) ways to counteract the effects of sitting for too long.

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Rocking Around

With all the active chairs I’ve tested, I’ve never been able to use one for a full workday. These stools are comfortable enough to sit on for an hour or two, but eventually I want to slump back and relax my muscles. You should think about them not as a replacement for your office chair, but as a way to switch things up. However, the balancing act these stools offer might not be meaningful enough to be considered “active.”

“Movement is important,” says Anne-Kristina Arnold, who has been in the kinesiology field for more than 30 years. She’s currently chair of the Ergonomics Stream and a senior lecturer at the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. “Any kind of static movements in our bodies, we can only withstand and maintain for short periods of time,” she says, adding that it “can cause discomfort and ultimately potential injury as well.”

The latter is no joke. Look at the product page for this active chair from QOR360 and you’ll notice it asks you to read a safety notice that says people who are older or anyone who finds it difficult to balance may have an increased risk of falling while sitting on the stool.  

Arnold doesn’t think using these chairs is inherently harmful (as long as you can balance yourself), but she suggests a simple alternative: Get up and walk around every so often. “You’re going to get more circulation throughout the whole body rather than just those static contractions in maintaining your balance on the chair. If you’re into burning calories, an active chair is not going to work for you any more than getting up and going to the water cooler a few times during the day.”

If you suffer from back pain, you may experience some benefit from an active chair. Arnold notes that the forward tilt helps bring the lumbar back into a neutral position, but this is still something you’ll only want to rely on for short periods of time. Otherwise, your upper body will be too static as it tries to maintain balance, and your stomach muscles are going to have more tension and fatigue, especially over the course of a full eight-hour workday. 

“What we really want to do is design jobs that don’t require static work for long periods of time,” Arnold says. “We want to be able to encourage people to get up regularly and change their posture.” This doesn’t mean using a standing desk for eight hours a day, which Arnold says is just as bad, or putting a cycling machine or walking treadmill under your desk. 

14 Best Fitness Trackers (2023): Watches, Bands, and Rings

14 Best Fitness Trackers (2023): Watches, Bands, and Rings

This year, Garmin released two high-end adventure watches: the Epix ($1,000) and this year’s update to the Fenix series, the Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The Epix has a 47-mm case and a large, brilliant AMOLED screen; the Fenix has a memory-in-pixel (MIP) display. However, the Epix’s case is huge, and the display eats up a lot of battery. I’d go with the Fenix instead.

This year’s iteration has vastly improved battery life with solar charging—I got two weeks off one charge, with intermittent sunlight during a cloudy Oregon winter. Multiple GPS systems meant that it pinpointed my location with incredible speed and accuracy, even in the rain and under tree cover. It can record every biometric for every sport under the sun. And honestly, maps on the MIP still look detailed and pretty great. The downside? It is still fairly spendy, and earlier iterations do go on sale pretty often.

★ Alternative: If having a super bright, super crisp display or a super easy-to-use app is not at the top of your list of priorities, I highly recommend the Coros Apex 2 Pro. It connects to all five satellite systems and includes the dual-frequency GNSS support that the Apple Watch Ultra has, for more precise (and fast!) location tracking. With regular use, the battery lasted over a month.

The tracking is as accurate as the Apple Watch Ultra’s, but Coros’ training plans and metrics in their proprietary training system, EvoLab, are as detailed and helpful as Garmin’s. The plans are also clearly aimed at more experienced runners, although there are a few for beginners. I also like the big grooved buttons, the fact that the screen locks, and the startlingly wide variety of watch faces.