Apple Watch in Short Supply Due to Taptic Engine Bottlenecks

The Apple Watch has been available in extremely limited quantities since pre-orders for the device launched on April 10, and a new report from The Wall Street Journal sheds some light on why supplies have been low. A key component of the Apple Watch, the Taptic Engine, was made by two separate suppliers, and the devices created by one of Apple's suppliers were "found to be defective."

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.

Apple was unable to use the Taptic Engines from the supplier in Shenzhen, China, but those produced by a second supplier in Japan did not have the same issue. The majority of Taptic Engine production is now being done in Japan, but it will take some time for the factory to increase production, and with a single supplier, quantities of the taptic engine available for use in Apple Watch devices likely remains low.

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The Taptic Engine is a linear actuator, creating motion in a straight line by moving a small rod. It powers the haptic feedback capabilities of the Apple Watch, delivering the small taps that are felt on the wrist with notifications, pings from friends, heartbeats, and more. The Taptic Engine is a major part of the Apple Watch, working in conjunction with audio cues to deliver subtle alerts and notifications to Apple Watch wearers.

To resolve some of the supply constraints on the Apple Watch, Apple is said to be planning to add Foxconn as a second assembler of the Apple Watch, alongside Quanta Computer. Foxconn may begin manufacturing the Apple Watch in late 2015 at the earliest, so according to The Wall Street Journal, it may take several months for Apple Watch supplies to improve significantly.

Apple has repeatedly said that it's working to get Apple Watch orders as out as quickly as it can, and it has indeed been shipping orders out before their prospective delivery dates. Many customers who originally had 4 to 6 week shipping estimates have already begun receiving their devices.

Apple Watch orders placed today offer shipping estimates ranging into June and beyond, but it's possible that many orders will reach consumers ahead of that time as Apple works to increase available supply.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Tag: wsj.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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69 months ago
I felt a great disturbance in the Force Touch, as if millions of watch orders suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago
I'm sure this is somehow Angela Ahrendts' fault. :rolleyes:
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago
Now will people stop crying about how Apple is screwing them over by waiting a little longer?



doubt it
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago

Now will people stop crying about how Apple is screwing them over by waiting a little longer?



doubt it


They deliberately told one of their suppliers to make defective parts to make it look like there was high demand. /s
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
69 months ago
Gruber's initial review (https://daringfireball.net/2015/04/the_apple_watch) unit had a broken Taptic Engine -

And without taps, Apple Watch is rather dull. The first unit I received from Apple seemingly had a hardware defect. Taps worked at first, but I found them surprisingly weak — so weak they were easy to miss, even with the watch strapped relatively snugly to my wrist. By the end of the first day, taps weren’t working at all. Apple sent me a replacement unit the next day, and it was like an altogether different experience.

Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago
Can any of you read? The reason your watches haven't shipped yet is because Apple decided to ship you a working unit instead of a defective one (at least, without a defective Taptic Engine part).
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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