Faulty Taptic Engine components behind Apple Watch shortages?

Apple’s inability to pump out enough Apple Watch models to satisfy the current demand, may be down to problems manufacturing one particular component, reports on Wednesday have suggested.

The Wall Street Journal’s sources say problems with making the Taptic Engine module, which gives users physical feedback akin to being tapped on the wrist, has caused supply shortages.

According to the sources, one of two suppliers in charge of building the component – AAC Technologies Holdings of Shenzhen in China – had produced faulty goods, which stopped working after a certain period of time.

Because of that, Apple was reportedly force to scrap the watches they were planned for, causing a bottleneck in supplies the company is still attempting to recover from.

The Taptic Engine is one of the most important means for users to interact with the device and is described by Apple as “a linear actuator inside Apple Watch that produces haptic feedback. In less technical terms, it taps you on the wrist whenever you receive an alert or notification, or press down on the display.

“Combined with subtle audio cues from the specially engineered speaker driver,” the company continues, “the Taptic Engine creates a discreet, sophisticated, and nuanced experience by engaging more of your senses. It also enables some entirely new, intimate ways for you to communicate with other Apple Watch wearers. You can get someone’s attention with a gentle tap. Or even send something as personal as your heartbeat.”

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Apple is still using a second Japanese firm to product the Taptic Engine without problems, but according to the Journal it is taking time to up production levels. Apple is also looking at bringing trusty supplier Foxconn to help with assembling the watch as it seeks to get watches onto the wrists of more consumers.

Earlier this week we brought word suggesting only 22 per cent of pre-order customers had received the Apple Watch, as the company struggles to meet the demand.

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