As we get closer to Apple Watch’s market debut we continue to come across reports concerning various low yield issues that may lead to limited market availability. About a couple of weeks ago it was rumored that Apple’s initial Watch shipment will consist in 3 million units. Softly afterwards we received word that Quanta has a very low defect-free rate and can’t keep up with the production quota, reason why Foxconn might lend a hand in the Watch’s production. Either way, Apple is said to consider the release of a Watch 2.0 by the end of the year, while the company continues to struggle with various low yield issues surrounding the first model.
Unfortunately it looks like the story isn’t going to get a positive spin anytime soon, as fresh rumors from China now suggest that Apple has been forced to cut the Watch’s monthly production target in half.
Apple Watch Monthly Production Cut in Half
Although, reportedly, Apple initially planned to manufacture anywhere between 2.5 and 3 million Watches each month, a fresh series of reports from the Chinese publication UDN indicates that the Cupertino-based company had to cut its expectations in half. Thus Apple will apparently produce only 1.25 – 1.5 million Watches a month.
One of the reasons for this change in plans apparently lies in manufacturing issues with the display (which is being produced by LG), leading to 30-40% yield capacity. Plastic OLED panels use PET (polyethylene terephthalate) instead of a glass substrate, thus giving them flexibility and lightweight. The only problem however, is that manufacturing plastic OLEDs requires a different method of creating a vacuum between the OLED panel and the plastic substrate, other than the traditional water jet vacuum pumps. And because PETs are very sensitive to humidity it looks like manufacturing the Watch’s display is a more complicated process than initially expected.
Sadly it seems this isn’t the only reason why Apple reportedly had to cut the monthly production target in half. Another issue that seems to persist is Quanta’s inability to assemble the Watch in a timely manner. Quanta is a laptop manufacturer first and foremost, and piecing together a much smaller device (like the Apple Watch) seems to be a much greater challenge. In line with previous rumors, the source mentions that, in the future, Foxconn will be involved in the Watch’s production one way or another, in order to overcome these low yield issues.
That’s all the information we have for now but stick around and we’ll keep you up to speed as soon as we find out more.