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Apple Watch Rollout Delayed by Faulty Component

Tim Maytom

Apple WatchApple is reportedly shifting production of a key component in the Apple Watch to a new supplier after faults have led to considerable hold ups in shipping models out, and led to Apple struggling to keep up with demand for the much-hyped wearable.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the taptic engine, which simulated the feeling of being tapped on the wrist, is the cause of the delays, with engines breaking down rapidly, and Apple even forced to scrap existing watches due to the defect.

The fault is only present in taptic engines produced by AAC Technologies, which has seen its shares drop eight per cent this morning following the news being made public. Apple's other supplier, Nidec Corp, are not experiencing the same problem, and for the time being will be responsible for all production, although it will take time for them to ramp up to this scale, resulting in further delays to Apple Watches being delivered to customers or available in stores.

According to market intelligence firm Slice, only 22 per cent of Apple Watches that were pre-ordered were delivered during the first weekend the device was available. 1.7m watches were ordered ahead of the product's launch, but only 376,000 were delivered initially, with 547,000 expected to ship before 11 June, and 639,000 awaiting notification from Apple as to when they can expect to receive their watch.

Slow delays and faulty components aren't the only frustrations facing Apple Watch owners as they receive their new devices – wearers with tattoos are reporting that the watch, which is supposed to unlock automatically when it senses it is being worn, is not working when worn over skin with black tattoos.

Tattoos also reportedly disrupt alerts for incoming messages, and heart rate readers differ significantly on tattooed and non-tattooed wrists. The Apple Watch uses green LED lights combined with light-sensitive photodiodes to detect blood flow, and Apple's support website does mention that tattoos may interfere with its functions, but does not mention any other expected difficulties.