WSJ: Apple Watch shortage due in part to Taptic Engine part flaw
updated 08:00 pm EDT, Wed April 29, 2015
by MacNN Staff
Apple forced to scrap finished units after breakdown tendency revealed in testing
A serious quality control issue that turned up just prior to the launch of the Apple Watch forced the company to scrap completed units, possibly in high volumes -- resulting in fewer devices available than had been previously planned at launch, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. A motor needed to power the haptic feedback engine in the Apple Watch that came from one Hong Kong-based supplier proved to be defective.
According to the report, motors built by AAC Technologies Holdings were found to have a tendency to break down during reliability testing. The parts are said to have come from a factory in Shenzhen, China. In response, Apple has pivoted to ordering more of the parts from its secondary supplier, Nidec Corporation of Japan, though it is unclear how much backlog Nidec will have to work through, and how quickly it can ramp up production.
In addition, the report says that Apple is considering -- in light of strong demand -- adding a second assembly partner to help it make more Apple Watch units for later in the year. Currently, Apple uses Quanta Computer exclusively for Watch manufacture, though Foxconn is expected to join in on production in time for the holiday season. The company is likely also working with AAC to identify the fault and bring the company back up to speed as soon as possible.