Apple Watch: Faulty Taptic Engine from AAC Technologies slows rollout, sources say

“A key component of the Apple Watch made by one of two suppliers was found to be defective, prompting Apple Inc. to limit the availability of the highly anticipated new product, according to people familiar with the matter,” Daisuke Wakabayashi and Lorraine Luk report for The Wall Street Journal.

“The part involved is the so-called taptic engine, designed by Apple to produce the sensation of being tapped on the wrist. 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,” Wakabayashi and Luk report. “One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.”

“Apple doesn’t plan a recall, because there’s no indication that Apple shipped any watches with the defective part to customers,” Wakabayashi and Luk report. “Taptic engines produced by a second supplier, Japan’s Nidec Corp., didn’t experience the same problem, the people said. Apple has moved nearly all of its production of the component to Nidec, these people said, but it may take time for Nidec to increase its production.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This may explain why some early reviewers have been describing the Taptic Engine as “very subtle.” We experienced no such thing with our Watches and couldn’t understand those characterizations. These early reviewers may have received Watches with defective Taptic Engines.

Regardless, this certainly goes a long way towards explaining why the initial Watch supply is so massively out of whack with the demand that we, and certainly Apple, and anybody else with a brain have expected since the device was unveiled last September.

Related article:
Apple Watch set to lift fortunes of Hong Kong component supplier AAC – December 22, 2014

37 Comments

  1. Come now….you KNEW something like this had to pop up….”antenna gate,” “bendgate,” etc. Every iPhone release has been accompanied by some “issue” that turned out to be either totally false or ridiculously amplified FUD. There’s no way the haters would let the Watch release without doing something to try and muddy the waters.

  2. The statement about watches not making it to market with defective haptic engines is a bit dubious. If the problems were found over a period of time, it seems likely that they were found by end users as well as company testing. Hence some made it to market. Stuff happens. Glad any problems were caught early. And, of course, Apple will take good care of the buyers.

    1. You locate incorrectly built products by production records, not field failures. I’m sure Apple figured out the exact days that the engines containing the substandard components were produced and isolated the serial numbers and removed them from inventory before customer shipments began. Don’t forget, Apple had hundreds, if not thousands, of pre-production Watches in daily use for months, on the wrists of engineers and executives. Part of that effort was to identify problems before customer shipments began. If this problem was a basic design of the particular component, then the failures would have been distributed across both vendors. Apparently no so. Does make a June delivery date a little happier, though.

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