Apple Watch Production Back on Track After 'Labor Shortages' Caused Initial Delays

Apple WatchThe Apple Watch has been in high demand since the wearable began accepting pre-orders over a month ago, with the first wave of Space Black Link Bracelet, Leather Loop, and Modern Buckle just now shipping to customers this week.

A few reports have pointed to defective Taptic Engines produced by an Apple supplier in Shenzhen, China as the main reason behind the bottleneck, but a new story today out of DigiTimes suggests dramatic labor shortages during the Lunar New Year could have been the main source of the Apple Watch's low yield rate in the weeks after launch.

"Because of labor shortages during the Lunar New Year holidays, Quanta was forced to borrow manpower from other manufacturers and was only able to deliver limited shipments in the first quarter," said Quanta vice chairman CC Leung. "However, Quanta already has sufficient capacity to manufacture all the orders and should see a giant contribution from its wearable device business in the second quarter."

Interestingly, Leung never mentions Apple or the Apple Watch by name and even "declined to state the name of its client or its products," according to DigiTimes. The vice chairman did note, however, that the wearable in question is "unlike the smartwatches it produced before" and that it "has a lot of functions in it and its client is satisfied with the product." Given that the Apple Watch's unit shortage is very public knowledge and considering that Quanta is the primary source of its manufacturing, it would appear that the "smartwatch" in question is the Apple Watch.

Rumors of a limited Apple Watch supply began just a few weeks after the wearable was announced at Apple's "Spring Forward" event in March. Although the Apple Watch's supply has been strained, Apple confirmed before the Apple Watch launch that some models may arrive before their estimated delivery dates, with many 4-6 week shipping estimates improving dramatically for some customers.

Although there are exceptions, most Apple Watch orders placed today have between a 2-3 week and 3-5 week estimate for the smaller 38mm case size, while most models in the 42mm size are sitting on a delivery estimate of July. But, with today's possible hint at an even more amped up production line alongside Apple's already impressive attempt to come in ahead of delivery expectations, it's still possible many orders will reach their owners ahead of time.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Tag: Quanta
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

Cory Bauer Avatar
118 months ago
I don't think people outside the Watch forum even realize how bad it really is; Apple still hasn't fullfilled the first 9 hours of pre-orders from the first day of pre-orders...five weeks ago. Think about that for a while.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
118 months ago
I don't think people outside the Watch forum even realize how bad it really is; Apple still hasn't fullfilled the first 9 hours of pre-orders from the first day of pre-orders...five weeks ago. Think about that for a while.

Apple hasn't even fulfilled the first 12 MINUTES of orders from the first day of the 42mm Space Grey!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
118 months ago
Yeah! Get to work kids!!

Kids have no work ethic these days. :D

Even in jest, your comments are offensive.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigHonkingDeal Avatar
118 months ago
But, with today's possible hint at an even more amped up production line alongside Apple's already impressive attempt to come in ahead of delivery expectations, it's still possible many orders will reach their owners ahead of time.

This sounds like a press anouncement out of North Korea..... Look how impressive our fearless leader is conducting business :)
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macengineering Avatar
118 months ago
Child Labor

Kids have no work ethic these days. :D
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phillipduran Avatar
118 months ago
Even in jest, your comments are offensive.

Those comments are so relevant and appropriate here. The humor in his comments is because of the irony.

You have so many RAGE posts here about not getting these watches quicker. Rage about supply, rage about launch, rage about missing the preorder boat by 30 minutes and being set back weeks.

On the other hand, the same crowd rages about Chinese labor, unfair wages, unfair work practices, slave labor, sweatshop environment etc.

So I'd say his humor is spot on relevant here. :rolleyes:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)