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New Apple Watch with larger screen suffers production snags

August 31, 2021, 8:55 PM UTC

Apple’s upcoming smartwatch is suffering production snags as manufacturers adjust to a new design, likely leading to supply constraints or shipment delays, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

The device is expected to have a larger screen, alongside a faster processor, Bloomberg has reported. The upgrade has brought manufacturing challenges, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the situation isn’t public. 

The company is expected to unveil the new line — known as the Apple Watch Series 7 — in the coming weeks. It’s part of a flurry of new products from the technology giant, including updated iPhones, iPads, AirPods and Macs.

It wouldn’t be the first time an Apple Watch has hit snags coming out of the factory. The first version was delayed in 2015 due to production problems. But since Apple hasn’t yet announced the release date for the Apple Watch Series 7, it has options. The company could just give a later date or ship a smaller number of units. 

Nikkei reported earlier that production of the device has been delayed due to the complexity of the new watch. Manufacturers of the product began small-scale production last week but didn’t get satisfactory output, Nikkei said.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. 

The new watches also have screen technology that brings that display closer to the cover glass using a different lamination technique, Bloomberg previously reported. That display layer may be causing some of the production woes, the person said.

Shares of Apple were little changed on Tuesday, trading at $152.23 as of 1:40 p.m. in New York. They have gained 15% this year.

Apple is counting on the new line to broaden the appeal of smartwatches and continue fueling a product category that’s been one of its fastest growing. The Cupertino, California-based company got more than 11% of its revenue from wearables, home products and accessories in the last fiscal year, up from about 4% in 2015.

This year’s watches will come in 41-millimeter and 45-millimeter sizes, up from 40 and 44 millimeters, Bloomberg has reported. The company is expected to offer multiple new watch faces that take advantage of the bigger screen, including an updated Infograph Modular face. This will be the second time that the company has increased the display size, following the Apple Watch Series 4 three years ago. 

Covid-19 disruptions have contributed to production challenges, according to Nikkei, which cited unidentified people with knowledge of the situation. 

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