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There’s an exciting new design expected to come to the Apple Watch Series 7 this year, but unfortunately, it’s starting to look like Apple may have bitten off more than it can chew, leading to possible production delays for the new wearable.
According to Nikkei Asia, production of the Apple Watch Series 7 has been delayed due to the more “complicated designs of the new smartwatch.”
While manufacturers reportedly began small-scale production last week, they “encountered critical challenges” in actually ramping up production to the level that will be necessary to meet the expected demand.
If these reports are accurate, there’s a good chance that the new Apple Watch won’t be arriving next month after all.
According to sources within Apple’s supply chain, the companies assembling the Apple Watch ran into problems putting it together due to the challenges presented by the new design.
Three sources said the current disappointing production quality could be attributed to the complexity of design, which is significantly different from that of previous generations of the watch, and the assemblers found issues when putting together electronics modules, components and displays.Nikkei Asia
As a result, suppliers have had to take a step back, halting production entirely to try to sort out the problems before going into mass production.
Blood Pressure Sensors?
One very interesting point in Nikkei Asia’s report is that the new Apple Watch Series 7 may actually include a new blood pressure sensor.
The flies in the face of information shared by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has repeatedly said that no new health sensors are coming to this year’s Apple Watch. According to Gurman, Apple considered a body temperature sensor for this year, but was forced to delay that until the Apple Watch Series 8.
Although Gurman hasn’t made any specific mention of blood pressure sensors in his prior reports, he recently said there won’t be any major health upgrades this year.
I don’t expect any major health upgrades until at least next year, when we may see a body-temperature sensor.Mark Gurman
However, we’ve heard previous reports that Apple was working on blood pressure monitoring. In fact, some even suggested that Apple had planned it for last year’s Series 6 but was forced to scrap it due to accuracy problems.
While Gurman usually has fairly reliable sources, it’s fair to say that they don’t know everything that’s going on, and the passing mention of blood pressure measurement from supply chain sources who are likely directly involved in assembling the new Apple Watch Series 7 gives us some new hope that we could see at least this one new health feature finally arrive on the Apple Watch.
The next Apple Watch will come with new features such as blood pressure measurement, they said, which means production involves fitting a greater number of components into a similar size body. The new product must also meet requirements for water-resistance performance, further increasing the engineering and production challenges, the people said.Nikkei Asia
When Will the New Apple Watch be Announced?
To be fair, there’s never been a guarantee as to when Apple will launch its new wearable. Apart from the original Apple Watch, which launched on April 24, 2015, however, every subsequent model has been released in September, usually during Apple’s annual iPhone event.
Even the original Apple Watch was announced alongside the iPhone 6 in 2014, but like most of Apple’s entirely new products, it took several more months before it was available for purchase.
Last year was the first time an Apple Watch wasn’t announced alongside a new iPhone, but that’s only because the iPhone 12 was delayed, but Apple obviously didn’t want to hold off on releasing the Apple Watch, so it stuck with its September schedule for that.
Ironically, however, this year it looks like things could be reversed, with the entire “iPhone 13” lineup expected to arrive on the traditional September schedule, but the Apple Watch potentially behind held off for a later event, likely in October or November.
After all, except for entirely new product categories, Apple clearly tries to hold its launch events within a couple of weeks of a product’s actual availability. Only original products like the 2007 iPhone, Apple Watch “Series 0”, first-generation AirPods, and HomePod received announcements well in advance of their availability.
So, while it’s possible Apple could still announce the Apple Watch alongside the “iPhone 13,” and just say that it won’t be available until later this fall, it’s more likely that it will schedule another event closer to the wearable’s actual release date.
This is even more likely since Apple is hosting its events virtually again this year, which gives the company much more flexibility, as it doesn’t have to worry about gathering an audience in person.
There’s also still time for Apple’s suppliers to get things back on track. They’re reportedly “working around the clock” to try to begin mass production on schedule, but as of now, nobody seems to have any idea when that will actually happen.
Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock trying to solve the issues, but currently it is hard to tell when the mass production could begin,” one of the people added. Apple previously planned to put Apple Watch 7 into mass production around mid-September, another person said, and the engineering team is working to minimize delays.Nikkei Asia
Much like last year’s challenges with the iPhone 12, these Apple Watch Series 7 delays also appear to be at least partly a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with sources saying that it’s been difficult for Apple and suppliers to travel and meet in person to verify the specifications. As a result, some difficulties with the design weren’t discovered until the actual test production began.
Ultimately, we suspect that Apple’s decision whether to announce the Apple Watch Series 7 at next month’s iPhone event will be based on exactly how fast its suppliers can get things back on schedule.
With the “iPhone 13” expected to be available on time, Apple can afford to announce the Apple Watch at the same time, even if it can’t ship it until October.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]