Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple "iWatch" mass production pushed back to November [u]

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited July 2015
Industry consensus holds that Apple's so-called "iWatch" will see manufacture in September ahead of wide distribution in December, but one well-connected analyst believes mass production is to be pushed back to November, meaning only small quantities will be available at launch.

iWatchiWatch concept by Todd Hamilton


In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iWatch represents a new level of difficulty for Apple in regard to both hardware and software development. Because of the new challenges, Kuo believes current consensus on Apple's iWatch production and distribution schedule is incorrect.

Kuo estimates Apple will push back mass production to mid- or late-November, one month later than previous models claiming large-scale manufacturing would start in late-September. With only a few supplier ramping up ahead of an anticipated October release, supplies of the wearable will be constrained and are unlikely to meet market expectations of 10 million shipped units by the end of 2014. Instead, Kuo says about 3 million iWatches will be in the wild by year's end.

On the hardware side of things, the analyst notes Apple is deviating from its normal component cache to more advanced -- and difficult to manufacture -- parts and materials.

For example, the iWatch is thought to sport a flexible AMOLED display complete with sapphire cover glass. Apple has never deployed an OLED display in a consumer product, nor has the company fielded a product with such a large sapphire glass installation. So far, the largest sapphire part in any iOS device has been the protective Touch ID covering seen on the iPhone 5s. Recent rumors claim the iWatch will use a "slightly rectangular" 2.5-inch display.

In addition, new system-in-package (SiP) processes will be used to shrink down operational circuitry to wristwatch sizes, which complicates matters since Apple is looking to meet high waterproofing standards. Not mentioned in the report are other rumored features like wireless charging that could add to the device's already complicated build.

As for software, Kuo believes the main challenge is redesigning iOS to fit on a smaller screen while maintaining interoperability with larger devices like the iPhone and iPad. Apple is well known for its stellar hardware and software vertical, though iWatch UI refinement could present a problem as the form factor is completely new and doesn't have the benefit of being on the market for years.

Update: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Apple's iWatch would debut in October, not the actual estimation of December. The article has been updated to reflect the correct information.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    Kuo's comment about iOS UI rings especially hollow.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    A year and a half ago tCook was talking like iWatch could have a mid year debut. They're walking the razor' sedge on this. I don't fault them a bit. Make it great. I'd be disappointed, but I'd wait another year or two if I had to to get the device that's being rumored. Another few weeks is nothing.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    So, the unannounced imaginary product also had an imaginary ship date that Apple can't hit?

    Well, excuse me while I have an imaginary fit over it... !
  • Reply 4 of 63
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    So does he have insider information he is basing this on or is he just guessing?
  • Reply 5 of 63
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member

    It is unlikely Kuo has access to insider information since he is often wrong. He is merely speculating, working off of supply chain rumors (which is a risky platform from which to base predictions).

     

    By contrast, it appears that writer Jim Dalrymple is being fed information from Apple PR, but only extremely sanitized and trivial bits, things like the dates of upcoming announcements, but not actual product specifications. Note that Jim doesn't really make any prognostications, he mostly replies "yup" or "nope" to highly specific, very narrow questions from others. Jim does not pre-offer his "special" insight.

     

    It would be highly unlikely that Apple would feed any analyst pre-release information. Any analyst getting real insider information would have highly suspicious investment behavior and an inexplicably great ROI, something that would attract the attention of the SEC for the analyst in question as well as Apple itself.

     

    There is no third-party Apple-related information source that stands head-and-shoulders above his/her peers. Again, that would be highly suspicious. By in large, everyone has middling to poor prediction track records.

     

    What we do know is that some analysts definitely do not have any insight whatsoever: Munster, Wu, Huberty are three analysts who come into mind. Also Gartner, IDG, and good ol' Enderle. They are so frequently completely off base that one can pretty much bet the opposite of what they say will end up being true.

     

    Same goes with tech media: Digitimes has shown stunning inaccuracy in their Apple predictions. BGR and 9to5Mac also have laughably bad track records.

  • Reply 6 of 63
    I think what some are missing is that he's saying a grand production of devices won't happen until later in the year. Think gold iPhone 5s. It still launched on target (though, yes, the 'iWatch' has no official target date) although in [U]very[/U] limited quantities. The scarcity may be similar for this device. For it to be a part of this amazing pipeline it has to be released at some point.
  • Reply 7 of 63
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 546member
    It might make sense if Apple is using new custom system in package modules. Yields are lower because if one component of a circuit package is defective, the whole SIP is useless.
  • Reply 8 of 63
    Who is gonna care these bullshit ? Again and again ?
  • Reply 9 of 63
    fearlessfearless Posts: 134member

    I guess that failing to meet a fictitious "consensus" deadline on an unannounced product is, to Wall St, a fail by Apple. Hmmm.

  • Reply 10 of 63
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Industry consensus holds that Apple’s so-called “iWatch” will see manufacture...

     

    Which proves it isn’t happening.

  • Reply 11 of 63
    danoxdanox Posts: 382member

    It's called tanking the stock.

  • Reply 12 of 63
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I'm sorry but this is not breaking news AI. :no:
  • Reply 13 of 63
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member

    AI often does not post news. This is a "breaking" rumor, not a news item.

     

    In any case, AI essentially doesn't really care if it's news or rumor. They just want page views.

     

    Accuracy and accountability by information sources is completely irrelevant here. Heck, it would be no different if AI started posting World Cup match result predictions.

  • Reply 14 of 63
    danox wrote: »
    It's called tanking the stock.

    If it's supposedly launching one or two months after the iPhone 6, shouldn't we have seen some type of leaked part by now? Especially with all the leaked info on the iPhone 6?

    If there even is an "iWatch" then apparently all of the parts are contained within Apple or the new MacPro plant (apparently they don't leak info). If it does launch by the end of the year then I hope I never see the sarcastic 'double down on security' comments again.
  • Reply 15 of 63
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    mpantone wrote: »
    BGR and 9to5Mac also have laughably bad track records.

    actually 9to5's track record is almost perfect when it comes to their own stories, and not circulated rumors. there was a third party article counting them up and checking.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,995moderator
    The iPod Nano display, more than slightly rectangular, would make an excellent iWatch display form factor, if curved to wrap slightly with the curvature of a wrist and if presented with near zero bezel on all sides. And, surprise, it's exactly 2.5". Plus, the simplified touch interface needed for an iWatch has already been in use on this device for two years. No pinch to zoom, etc, but touching and swiping and scrolling is all there. Everything needed to run iOS apps, just no resizing.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    actually 9to5's track record is almost perfect when it comes to their own stories, and not circulated rumors. there was a third party article counting them up and checking.

    Does that include the contributor who complains that Apple changes their UI for apps because they didn't want it to look like his pre-release mock ups?
  • Reply 18 of 63
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post



    actually 9to5's track record is almost perfect when it comes to their own stories, and not circulated rumors. there was a third party article counting them up and checking.

    Please provide references on 9to5Mac's "almost perfect" track record. If that is the truly the case, I don't know why anyone interested in Apple should be reading anything but them.

     

    We look forward to your data disclosure.

  • Reply 19 of 63
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member
    rogifan wrote: »
    So does he have insider information he is basing this on or is he just guessing?

    I am sure someone at Apple is instructed to sit at a park bench and feeds him bird seeds here and there. Tidbits with just enough vagueness for him to blab about and sense the reaction.
  • Reply 20 of 63
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member
    In my opinion Apple should launch this Q1 or Q2 2015. They have enough to keep themselves and consumers busy this fall, no point biting off more than they can chew, or blowing their whole load within a couple months. Leave the iWatch till later to give it room in the spotlight and make sure people didn't just spend all their money on other Apple products.
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