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Apple kicks off critical holiday season with watch that monitors blood oxygen


Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a special event at the company’s headquarters of Apple Park in a still image from video taken in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 15, 2020. Apple Inc/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Tuesday introduced a new Apple Watch that monitors blood oxygen, kicking off a fall product lineup for a holiday shopping season that will be unlike any other due to

Apple was expected to update several products including iPads and headphones at an event on Tuesday broadcast from its Cupertino, California, headquarters. Its biggest seller – the iPhone – is expected to be announced next month after executives have said its launch will be delayed by several weeks because of pandemic-related disruptions.

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Apple shares have soared this year even as the virus has crippled economies around the world, thanks in large part to booming sales of work-from-home items.

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Apple shares were up 2% on Tuesday after climbing more than 50% for the year, well ahead of the 23% gain for the Nasdaq. Even though Apple stock has fallen from a record high earlier this month, it remains near its $2 trillion stock market valuation.

How the new products sell during the holiday shopping season in many markets will largely define how well Apple performs for its entire fiscal year, which started this month.

FILE PHOTO: An Apple Store employee shows the new Series 5 Apple Watch during the preview of the redesigned and reimagined Apple Fifth Avenue store in New York, U.S., September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Apple said the watch’s new ability to monitor blood oxygen using infrared light should be used for fitness and wellness purposes. Doctors in India and other countries have used pulse oximeters to remotely check on COVID-19 patients and ensure their oxygen saturation level does not fall too low.

A level between 95% and 97% is considered normal by the American Lung Association https://www.lung.org/media/press-releases/pulse-oximeter-covid-19. Patients below 95% should call their doctor and those under 90% should go to the emergency room, health experts advise.

FILE PHOTO: A customer checks Apple watches at the grand opening of the new Apple Carnegie Library store in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Low oxygen levels are usually not the sole indicator of having COVID-19, the association said.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski)

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