A crucial component of Apple Watch has been found to be defective, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. This faulty part is likely the cause of the shipping delays seen in the smartwatch, but the good news is that Apple apparently discovered the flaw before shipping any defective units.
After mass production of Apple Watch began in February, Cupertino’s reliability testing discovered that some taptic engines manufactured by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., of Shenzen, China, began to break down over time. According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple was forced to scrap some completed watches as a result.
The taptic engines supplied by Japan’s Nidec Corp. haven’t exhibited the same problem, those sources said. Therefore, Apple has moved nearly all of the taptic motor production to Nidec, but the Japanese manufacturer might take a while longer to increase its production of the component.
This taptic engine, so named as a play on “haptic,” a technology that delivers tactile feedback, is one of the most important technologies that Apple has created for the wearable device. The taps, by design, should be less intrusive than other ways to get your attention, like buzzing or ringing. The engine uses a motor to move a small rod back and forth, which creates the feeling of gentle tapping.
Apple is not planning a recall for the smartwatch, because there is no indication that any wearable devices with the defective part were shipped to customers. There have been a few reports of customers receiving Apple Watches with faulty taptic motors, but any shipment of devices will certainly contain a percentage of defective models. These isolated reports may very well be unrelated to the problems with AAC Technologies.
In order to meet the demand for Apple Watch, Cupertino is said to be considering a second assembler of the smartwatch to supplement Taiwan’s Quanta Computer. Foxconn, the main assembler of the iPhone, has reportedly started early testing to potentially produce Apple Watch, people familiar with the matter have said.