Rumor: Apple Watch faces staggering manufacturing issues, initial production run halved

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited March 2015
An extraordinarily dubious rumor from China suggests that Apple has been unable to solve critical issues in the manufacturing of the Apple Watch's flexible OLED display that have driven yields perilously low, while assembly partner Quanta is said to be experiencing significant issues on its production lines due to the device's small size.




Just 30 to 40 percent of the Apple Watch OLED panels rolling out of display partner LG's factories are usable, according to UDN, which has led Apple to cut its launch production targets from up to 3 million per month to around 1.5 million per month. The report was first noted by GforGames.

Manufacturing the plastic-backed flexible OLED panels is a vastly different process than the one used for glass-backed panels, the report says, requiring new methods of pulling a vacuum between the panel and the substrate. Traditional water jet vacuum pumps are said to be unsuitable, causing humidity issues.

Problems at contract manufacturer Quanta Computer, the lead assembler for the Apple Watch, are also thought to contribute to the lowered forecast. Quanta, primarily known as a computer assembler, is reportedly having trouble adapting its processes to suit the much smaller Watch.

While dramatic, this is a highly unlikely scenario. LG is among the companies that first invented flexible OLED displays, and has been shipping them at moderately high volumes for years, notably in its own G Flex handsets.

The rumored assembly problems are even more farfetched, given Apple's recently-demonstrated prowess as a manufacturer. The company is known to be deeply involved with process and tooling on its production lines, and has shown its ability to build and ship huge quantities of devices time and again with the iPhone.

This is the second report of Apple Watch yield issues to surface in as many weeks. Last week, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri signaled that yield issues had prompted Apple to add longtime partners Foxconn and Samsung as Apple Watch suppliers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,764member

    What this means, if true, is that Apple has a much higher quality requirement than all the junk knockoffs coming out of China. I see it as a positive article. If Quanta can't make them, then Apple needs to find a different manufacturing company who can deal with small items. Simple as that. 

  • Reply 2 of 54
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    sog35 wrote: »
    <p>Why even publish this.</p>
    report a rumour and get some ad revenue to support the site at a rough guess :p
  • Reply 3 of 54
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,889member
    The informant is named Sam Sung. What a joke this rumor is.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    "An extraordinarily dubious rumor"

    Why are you publishing this?
  • Reply 4 of 54
    With the preorder just a couple of weeks away, I can't imagine that the initial batch of watches haven't mostly already been manufactured and are being packed and crated for distribution to Apple Stores.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 906member

    This is just more desperate propaganda planted by Apple's competitors. It's so pathetic that they resort to this crap. It's so far below any sense of "fair play" or any concept of simply rolling up their sleeves and doing what's necessary to come up with an honest product that's as least as good as the ?Watch.

  • Reply 7 of 54
    Say nothing about the utility of publishing this rumor, the grammar in the first sentence of this article is absolutely appalling.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,026member
    I suspect there were issues early on and they have been solved and this is just information filtering out long after it has been solved. Their is no way Apple can ship a product with 50% yield, that is complete unsustainable. This could have been the reason it not shipping till April they have been working through various issues up to this point.

    Keep in mind this is part of the reason Apple does not let people know what they are up to until they know they can do it. I personally think this is going to be a slow roll product for apple, it going to take time until they get to high numbers of shipments
  • Reply 9 of 54
    bocboc Posts: 72member
    There are always issues to improve speed & quality in the first run of products, but the production has been ongoing for months, so I doubt anything serious has suddenly "popped up" since these issues would be known from the start of trial runs.

    I call BS.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    With the preorder just a couple of weeks away, I can't imagine that the initial batch of watches haven't mostly already been manufactured and are being packed and crated for distribution to Apple Stores.

    Exactly. This is a crap rumor and a crap article.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    Same headlines we've seen with every single new product or major upgrade when it comes to Apple. You don't think Apple anticipates the problems? Tired of the same old, same old. And yes, other companies would let it slide and let the customer bring whatever it is in for repair. i.e. GM!
  • Reply 11 of 54

    Another Apple product going through the typical Apple product news cycle. There's always yield issues, manufacturing problems, or something the media has to report on.

  • Reply 13 of 54
    This is an odd sort of story indeed. And, it would seem Apple would certainly have a chunk of product all ready to deliver to stores. But the public reaction, if you can call it that, to the aWatch, has been little more than a yawn. Why? The number of watches "sold" in the court of public opinion is in the thousands not millions. Nothing the gear offers is needed. Everything about it is a luxury item. NOTHING about the Apple watch, at the moment, is a necessity...remembering Apple starts a product at minimum and adds features year after year....making the current model "our best ever".

    The worlds' economies are still in dramatic flux. And we are supposed to be in the post PC world. Why doesn't the watch work off your iPad or iMac or MacBook too? And that little solar cell to extend its battery life is still missing.

    This is no revelation. Just caution at best.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    Why a great site like this wants to publish a bs article amazes me. This is probably untrue or put out by Apple to heighten the desire for the product. An old marketing trick, make something rare and people want it more. This is the first product line apple has brought out since iPhone 1 I won't be buying.
  • Reply 15 of 54



    this again?! Nobody NEEDED an iPad. Remember that?

    "It fits between a smartphone and a laptop, why would I need one?"

    "It's just a big iPod touch, it won't sell!"

    etc

     

    You need to think of the Apple Watch as a companion to your iPhone, to improve that experience. Think of handoff and continuity. It all fit's together.

     

    It's gonna do well. I can't wait!

     

    Also, solar cells have tiny outputs that can JUST power a watch that tells the time. It wouldn't touch the power requirements of something as advanced as the Watch.

  • Reply 16 of 54

    This needs confirmation.

     

    I suggest asking the Log Lady from Twin Peaks.

  • Reply 17 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Why even publish this.

    Slow news day maybe?

    As it is, anybody that has been involved in manufacturing anything know that there is a ramp up period. This ramp up can be of considerable length. This has been my experience anyways with a number of different production line start ups.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,603member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ronstark View Post



    This is an odd sort of story indeed. And, it would seem Apple would certainly have a chunk of product all ready to deliver to stores. But the public reaction, if you can call it that, to the aWatch, has been little more than a yawn. Why? The number of watches "sold" in the court of public opinion is in the thousands not millions. Nothing the gear offers is needed. Everything about it is a luxury item. NOTHING about the Apple watch, at the moment, is a necessity...remembering Apple starts a product at minimum and adds features year after year....making the current model "our best ever".



    The worlds' economies are still in dramatic flux. And we are supposed to be in the post PC world. Why doesn't the watch work off your iPad or iMac or MacBook too? And that little solar cell to extend its battery life is still missing.



    This is no revelation. Just caution at best.



    Since when does "necessary" determine what people buy?   Food, water, shelter, basic clothing, health care and for some people, basic transportation is necessary.  Nothing else is.   And that includes a computer, Pad, iPhone, etc.   If you use the 'necessary' argument, Apple wouldn't be in business.    

     

    Within some parameters of income, consumers, especially in western economies, buy what they want, not only what's necessary.  If they didn't, the vast variety of consumer junk that's sold would never be sold and the economy would collapse.    Apple survived the recession better than any other company.   I won't pretend not to be surprised by that.   I had thought that in a weak economy, consumers would turn to less-expensive products, but if you only looked at Apple's sales and earnings from October 2007 and especially after August 2008, you'd never know there was the worst recession since the market crash of 1929.   

     

    Personally, I don't want the watch.   But I don't make the mistake of projecting my particular needs onto the needs/desires of others.   Will this watch sell in iPhone quantities?   No.   But will it sell well and way beyond "thousands"?   Absolutely.    And if the report has any truth to it whatsoever and the Watch is in short supply?   That will make people want it even more.    Consumers always want what they can't have and for a product like this, they want to be first to have it, even if it will suck as compared to future versions.  

  • Reply 19 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    danielsw wrote: »
    This is just more desperate propaganda planted by Apple's competitors.
    This is highly doubtful, any non trvial production line start up has initial yield and productivity problems. It is the nature of the beast. This sounds more like somebody hearing something and then blowing it out of proportion.

    As it is I've seen production lines where 40% yields have been considered good results.
    It's so pathetic that they resort to this crap. It's so far below any sense of "fair play" or any concept of simply rolling up their sleeves and doing what's necessary to come up with an honest product that's as least as good as the ?Watch.

    I suspect that is a stretch. For one if Apple delivers in a way to meet demand then the rumors is proven false and puts the credibility of the rumor monger into question.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    Come on...really? Please publish facts. I am sick of the rumors. Most are not true. You are shattering your credibility by publishing this garbage. All for the clicks right?
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