Apple Inc. hopes to correct an operational problem in its Apple Watch by changing production companies. The shipping of the watches will continue to be slow with the products not hitting stores until the end of May and new orders scheduled to be shipped in June.
Orders from the Apple Watch started April 10, with some shipments going out on April 25. Watch production was put on the slow track until June at the request of Apple executives, according to reports. There is no explanation for the decision, but some attribute a defective key component for the slow-down.
The part, commonly called a taptic engine, gives the wearer a gentle sensation on the wrist as a notifier for things like emails or text messages. It also is related to the heartbeat feature, which keeps track of your heart rate and can send heart rate information to others. The problem, according to officials, is that the taptic engine malfunctions in a short period of time. That results in random tapping on the wrist for no reason. The problem was discovered during testing.
Additionally, some Apple Watch users receiving the early shipments began complaining on social media that the heart rate function did not work properly. The customers said wrist tattoos cause the heart rate sensor to show incorrect data or lose connection. Tattoos on the wrist also cause the security function of the Apple Watch to malfunction, incorrectly telling the company the customer is no longer wearing the watch.
Officials at IMore explained the problem, stating darker black and red ink causes trouble for the sensor. The watch uses LED lights and photodiodes to get data on blood flow. The lights misread the ink for blood flow, sometimes causing extremely high heartbeat data.
AAC Technology Holdings Inc. of China produced the majority of the taptic engines in the watch. While Apple is not issuing a recall, it changed production companies to another company that has also produced the part. Nidec Corp. of Japan will take over production of the part, according to reports. The primary reason for the change is that the part produced in Japan did not break down, as did the part produced in China. Officials said Nidec Corp. would need some time to increase production to accommodate the number of orders. Apple hopes the change in production companies will correct the watch’s operational problem so the wait in shipments will be worth it.
The Apple Watch has another problem the company has not addressed. Some have found the battery just does not last long enough. The battery in the Apple Watch is much smaller than watches in other similar devices being produced by competitors. Officials with Apple insist the battery lasts up to 18 hours and can recharge in under two hours.
Apple has not made sales figures for the hot product public. However, demand of the Apple Watch outpaces the number of supplies according to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. Apple officials said the company is working to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. The shipments are based on supplies and when orders are taken online. Officials said customers’ patience is appreciated.
Apple hopes a correction of the operational problem in its Apple Watch, fixed when the Japanese company takes over complete production of the taptic engine, will satisfy customers once the products are worn. The company is taking current complaints and dealing with those issues on a case-by-case basis.
By Melody Dareing