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Faulty Taptic Engines Led To Apple Watch Delay

Faulty Taptic Engines Led To Apple Watch Delay

April 30, 2015

Jacob Pramuk, CNBC:

Apple found defects in a component of its recently released Apple Watch, leading the company to limit the device’s availability, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

The tech giant scrapped certain completed watches because of an error in some so-called taptic engines, which produce the sensation of being tapped on the wrist, the Journal wrote. Apple previously told some suppliers to ease up on watch production until June without explaining its rationale, sources told the Journal.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

I personally ordered an Apple Watch Sport with Space Grey Band, and ever since, I’ve have been sharing my pain with others on this forum over at MacRumors. Many on the site ordered their Watches just three or four minutes after pre-orders began and have yet to receive their devices.

Apple insider John Gruber of Daring Fireball says he experienced issues with the Taptic Engine on his review unit:

Recall that my first review unit had a bum taptic engine — it worked when I first started using it, but struck me as weak. By the end of the first day it wasn’t working at all, and Apple supplied me with a second watch the next day. I’ve also heard from at least one DF reader whose Apple Watch Sport had a non-functioning taptic engine (he got it replaced at his local Apple Store). So some of these have made it out of the factories and into the wild.

This, I think, unquestionably explains the supply shortage on Apple Watch, and rumors that this is the case have been making the rounds for a while now. From a technological standpoint, it makes some sense, too, as the Taptic Engine module is easily the most complex moving part on the otherwise (mostly) solid state Apple Watch.

The only question now is what happens with the Watches already on peoples’ wrists? The teardown pros at iFixit have determined that simple component swaps are probably not feasible, so if users find that the Force is, in fact, not with them, it remains to be seen how quickly they’ll be able to get their units repaired or replaced.