If you are still waiting (im)patiently for your Apple Watch then we may now know more as to why you are currently watchless after a report by The Wall Street Journal pointed the finger at Taptic Engine issues.
The report, the first to claim to have actual knowledge as to the reason for the seemingly low quantities of Apple Watches to be shipped worldwide, claims that one of Apple’s Taptic Engine suppliers has seen manufacturing issues that have left Apple with a large number of faulty devices, with the only option being to scrap the watches completely.
The fault itself is said to relate to longevity testing that Apple carried out on parts produced by one of its partners in China, with the Taptic Engine coming out of that particular facility found to fail over a period of time. Other Taptic Engine units produced by an Apple partner in Japan do not suffer from the same issue, so Apple is at least able to get some completed Apple Watch devices out the door.
“After mass production began in February, reliability testing revealed that some taptic engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., of Shenzhen, China, started to break down over time, the people familiar with the matter said. One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.”
The Taptic Engine is essentially a vibration motor that produces the sensation users feel on their wrists when they receive a notification or invoke a Force Touch. The motor is essential to the way the watch is used and will produce vibrations countless times a day. Motors that are likely to fail sooner than expected coult potentially cause huge headaches for Apple, hence the reason to ditch the potentially faulty units before they ever find their way to users’ wrists.
Apple is said to be bringing other manufacturing partners online to attempt to ease the current order backlog, though that could potentially take months to do.