Tim Cook has, several times, said that Apple will be venturing into new product categories this year, but it looks like one of the most-rumored products — the iWatch — is facing manufacturing issues, potentially delaying its launch.
DigiTimes says that several wearable device makers are seeing less than 50 percent yields. This, the site claims, is due to difficulties in surface finishing chassis components made using metal injection molding (MIM) techniques. The MIM technique allows for products with complicated industrial designs but without sacrificing rigidness.
Components made using MIM techniques were earlier used inside products, but with wearables these products are now used on the exterior, and hence the need for surface finishing. From DigiTimes:
Several wearable devices such as Apple’s iWatch and Qualcomm’s Toq are reportedly seeing less than 50% yield rates due to difficulties applying surface treatments on their metal injection molded (MIM) chassis, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Since clients have high demand over quality, and also need high volumes of supply, most component makers are having difficulties satisfying both of requirements.
Apple has reportedly prioritised its wearables project over its much-rumored television product, so these manufacturing issues could possibly come as a setback and delay the company’s plans to launch the iWatch.