Limited Apple Watch Supply And Shipping Delays Reportedly Caused By Defective Taptic Engine

Apple has been having a tough time meeting demand for its recently launched Apple Watch wearables, as it was reported earlier this week that only 20 percent of the nearly 2 million smartwatches ordered during launch weekend have been delivered. Now we may know why -- there's a defect in one of the key components.

Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reports the faulty part is the taptic engine, the part responsible for the tapping sensation that Apple Watch owners feel on their wrist when there's a notification. Mass production of the taptic engine kicked off in February, and shortly after, reliability testing uncovered a batch of faulty parts supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc.

Apparently the bad taptic engines simply fail over time. The finding prompted Apple to trash bin some finished watch models, though there's no recall for Apple Watch devices that already shipped. As of right now, there's nothing to indicate that models already in the wild are equipped with any of the faulty parts.


The good news for Apple is that it has a second supplier for the tapic engine, Nidec Corp., which is based out of Japan (AAC Technologies Holding Inc is in Shenzhen, China). Taptic engines produced by Nidec appear to function just fine, so Apple has shifted all production of the part over to the company. That means there could still be a shortage of Apple Watch devices as Nicdec increases production.

"Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on available supply and the order in which they were received," Apple said. "We know many customers are still facing long lead times and we appreciate their patience."

In an effort to eliminate long lines at Apple Retail Stores and having customers camp out, Apple initially only sold its wearables online. There was a flood of interest, and it's not known that if the haptic engine problems are the sole reason for the shortage, or if Apple would have a had time meeting demand regardless.