New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Early 'iWatch' Production Seeing Poor Yields Due to Issues with Body Finish Treatments?

While Apple's long-rumored "iWatch" may be one of the products to look for in 2014, several rumors have suggested that the device is unlikely to launch until the latter half of the year as the company works to address technical challenges.

A new report from DigiTimes claims that one of those issues involves surface finish treatments for the body of the device, with both Apple and Qualcomm searching for ways to improve the look of chassis parts made using metal injection molding (MIM) methods.
Several wearable devices such as Apple's iWatch and Qualcomm's Toq are reportedly seeing less than 50% yield rates due to difficulties applying surface treatments on their metal injection molded (MIM) chassis, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. [...]

MIM-made components used to be used inside products, but as the components are now becoming part of the external design, surface treatments have become an important process for the look of products.
qualcomm_toq
Qualcomm's Toq smart watch

Metal injection molding may sound very similar to what Apple is trying to achieve with Liquidmetal alloys, but there are distinct differences between the technologies, with MIM involving powdered metals that are combined with binder materials and placed into molds before being heated to very high temperatures to solidify while Liquidmetal alloys are heated to a molten state before being formed using molds and allowed to cool.

Liquidmetal Technologies argues that its alloys and processes offer significant advantages over MIM, including greater precision in molding shapes while offering higher strength, hardness, elasticity, and corrosion resistance than with typical metals. But while MIM is an established production process, Liquidmetal technology remains under development and its inventors have indicated that it will still be several years before it it can be used to produce major parts for Apple's products.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

11 months ago
Yay more hearsay with no credible source!
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago

While Apple's long-rumored "iWatch" (http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/iwatch/) may be one of the products to look for (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/12/30/whats-next-for-apple-in-2014-iwatch-larger-iphone-6-12-9-inch-ipad-pro/) in 2014 …


I second that. It's hour favourite product to watch for.

(Okay, groan. It must be late.)
Rating: 15 Votes
11 months ago
Don't worry Apple, take your time. Get it right. Don't pull a Samsung. They will be watching.
Rating: 14 Votes
11 months ago

I second that. It's hour favourite product to watch for.

(Okay, groan. It must be late.)


I can't believe you took the time to write that...


:D
Rating: 9 Votes
11 months ago

I rather see the launch of a proper looking and working iWatch in 2015 then a half working product with lot's of issues in 2014.

My advice to apple, bring it on the market only when it's truly remarkable and ready for use with a solid battery life among with great functionalities.


Pretty sure your advise for Apple is what they've almost always done.

They weren't the first MP3 player. They took their time to make it better. They weren't the first smartphone on the market. Again they took their time. They weren't the first tablet on the market....
Rating: 8 Votes
11 months ago

Our. Not hour;)


*wooosh*

Read it again, this time with the humour detector enabled ;)
Rating: 7 Votes
11 months ago
I rather see the launch of a proper looking and working iWatch in 2015 then a half working product with lot's of issues in 2014.

My advice to apple, bring it on the market only when it's truly remarkable and ready for use with a solid battery life among with great functionalities.
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago

Yay more hearsay with no credible source!


But they need something for the front page. Mac Pro is probably getting boring at this point.
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago
I cant believe this iWatch **** is still flying around. It seems useless as hell.
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago
Apple better hurry this to market, the clock is ticking on this one.
Rating: 5 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]