Production woes with certain components for Apple’s $349 smartwatch have allegedly been resolved, according to Taiwanese media.
The Apple Watch could start mass production as early as next month following the resolution of problems with key components.
Breakthroughs have been made in the number of successful yields for the watch’s display and processor, G for Games claimed on Thursday, citing a report from Taiwan’s United Daily News. If true, that means the watch’s initial production schedule could be back on track.
Rumors have flown back and forth as to when the watch would enter actual production and reach consumers. Reports from last October pegged January as the time frame for production. But a report from Rosenblatt Securities analyst Brian Blair claimed that production had been set back because of various issues and that the watch would initially be rolled out in limited numbers, according to G for Games.
Unveiled on September 9 at Apple’s iPhone 6 launch event, the Apple Watch is the company’s first effort to tap into the growing wearables market. Apple is late to the game as several other major companies such as Samsung, LG, Motorola and Microsoft have already launched their own smartwatches. But Apple is aiming to distinguish its product by offering it in a variety of styles and incorporating a range of health and fitness features through its Health app.
Apple has been mum about a specific launch date. When it unveiled the $349 smartwatch, it said only that the gadget would be ready “in early 2015.”
In November, Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, reportedly told company employees via a video message that the watch would debut in the spring. In the transcript of the message, Ahrendts said: “We’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring.”
With the production problems now reportedly resolved, the Apple Watch is once again expected to enter mass production in January, though that still leaves an actual launch date up in the air. Apple’s product page for the watch still lists early 2015 as the launch time frame. The watch’s manufacturer is reportedly doing its best to make sure the device reaches consumers as quickly as possible.
Quanta, which is building the watch, has upped its number of workers from 2,000 to 10,000 and is ultimately aiming for 20,000. The initial round of shipments will be 3 to 5 million watches. Apple anticipates a total of 24 million watches to be shipped during 2015, G for Games said.