Apple products have been known to gain attention for issues that are often affecting a small number of users, but blown way out of proportion in the media like the infamous iPhone 6/6 Plus Bendgate. With the launch of their Apple Watch, the company set out to avoid any type of negative media by prepping consumers about potential issues early on like the expected wear of their watch bands as a result of regular use.
Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to prevent an adverse publicity event, and a “TattooGate” is officially making the rounds in the media world. According to an Apple Watch user named Nathan Hodgetts, the iWatch's rear sensor has a difficult time determining whether the watch is actively being worn on a wrist in the event that a tattoo is present. He uploaded the following video to YouTube to showcase the problem:
Shortly after, another YouTube user named Michael Lovell displayed another instance of the tattoo issue and even swapped wrists to show how the inked one affected the watch's performance:
To put it simply, the Apple Watch's rear sensors are unable to adequately determine whether the user has the watch actively on a tattooed wrist. Since it thinks that the Watch is not making proper contact with the skin, the device is put into an idle state refrained from ordinary use including the halting of notification delivery.
While it is possible to turn off the “wrist detection” feature within the settings, this is only a temporary fix to this problem. Apple has yet to release a full statement on the issue at hand although I'd expect a comment from them in the next few days.