The Apple Watch launch has been somewhat peculiar, insofar as Apple has limited purchases to online orders only. What's more, many customers who were able to get their orders in won't be receiving their devices until mid-May, with some unlucky folks having to wait until June and July.
So what's going on here? Isn't Apple supposed to have the best and most efficient supply chain in the business? Couldn't Apple have foreseen pent up demand for the Apple Watch and adjust supply accordingly?
For weeks, there has been rampant speculation as to why the Apple Watch rollout has been so staggered. Now, thanks to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, we finally have some insight into what went down behind the scenes.
According to the Journal, Apple Watch supply is limited because Apple, late into the production process, discovered that a large number of the taptic engines were breaking down.
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
Thankfully, Apple had a second supplier in Nidec Corp. capable of supplying more reliable taptic engines. The Journal relays that Nidec Corp would quickly assume all taptic engine manufacturing responsibilities.
Still, the problems associated with AAC Technologies naturally caused something of a bottleneck. After all, the taptic engine in the Apple Watch -- the motorized component designed to 'tap' users gently on the wrist -- is an entirely new Apple invention. It's not as if it can be sourced from any number of suppliers.