Apple Watch Supply Constrained by Taptic Engine Defects

Apple Watch Supply Constrained by Taptic Engine Defects

Apple Watch Supply Constrained by Taptic Engine DefectsThe Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the reason the Apple Watch has been available in such extremely limited quantities is due to an issue with the Taptic Engine, which was found to be defective from one of Apple’s two suppliers for the important component.

WSJ, via MacRumors:

After mass production began in February, reliability testing revealed that some taptic engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., of Shenzhen, China, started to break down over time, the people familiar with the matter said. One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.

While Apple was unable to make use of the Taptic Engines from AAC, those produced from a second supplier in Japan were found to be OK. The majority of the Taptic Engine production is now being done in Japan, but the factory is still working to increase production, so quantities of the Taptic Engine will remain limited in the near future.

The Taptic Engine, which creates creates motion in a straight line by moving a small rod, delivers small taps that users feel on their wrists when receiving notifications, heartbeats, and more. The Taptic Engine is a major component in the Watch.

In a move to ease some of the Apple Watch supply constraints, Apple is reportedly planning on adding long time assembly partner Foxconn as a second assembler of the Watch. However, Foxconn couldn’t begin manufacturing the Apple Watch until late 2015 at the earliest, so it will take several months for supplies to improve significantly.

Apple Watch orders placed today offer shipping estimates of June and later. However, the devices could be delivered earlier than that, as Apple works to increase the supply.

A report from Re/code, citing source familiar with this issue, claims no Apple Watch units that contained the faulty Taptic Engine reached consumers wrists.

“I believe no faulty Apple Watches were shipped to consumers,” said Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy. “I don’t think this is damaging at all.”