As Apple shoots to bring its smartwatch to market in early-2015, news reports Tuesday asserted that the Cupertino firm has commissioned contract manufacturer Quanta Computer to start mass producing Apple Watches in January 2015, citing supply chain rumors first mentioned by Apple Daily [Google Translate] and reposted by GforGames.
Apparently Taiwan-based Quanta is the only manufacturer tasked with building the device, the story goes, contradicting earlier rumors that mentioned both Quanta and Inventec, an iPad supplier, as Apple Watch manufacturers.
The Apple Daily report gives hope that the fashionable smartwatch could hit store shelves in time for Valentine’s Day 2015. For what it’s worth, a recent article by The Information alleged that “Apple would be lucky” to ship the device by Valentine’s Day.
The Apple Daily report stated that Apple had asked Quanta to start making preparations, part of which is increasing its worker head count to four million. Moreover, the two companies reportedly brokered a deal prohibiting Quanta from manufacturing smartwatches for Apple’s rivals.
NPD DisplaySearch estimated the cost of building the Apple Watch’s flexible AMOLED screen at $27.41 per device for the larger model: the 299ppi display itself costs an estimated $7.86 per unit while the sapphire-coated touch panel runs Apple $19.55 per unit.
Based on alleged orders for five million AMOLED panels per month throughout 2015, DigiTimes thinks Apple is shooting to move upwards of 50 million Apple Watches next year, dwarfing Morgan Stanley Katy Huberty’s previous estimate of 30-60 million units.
Yesterday, Apple dispatched its design czar Jony Ive along with his fellow designer Marc Newson and others to Paris to help promote the Apple Watch which had been put on display at Colette’s boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré.
Ive and Newson, who previously designed timepieces under the banner of Swiss watchmaker Ikepod, gave personal presentations to The Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Chanel creative chief Karl Lagerfeld.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 30, 2014
The Apple Watch starts at $349 for the entry-level model, with luxurious models available at yet-to-be-revealed prices. The device was unveiled alongside new iPhones at the September 9 media event.
Cook and Jeff Williams, Apple’s Senior VP of Operations who manages the Apple Watch software and hardware engineering groups, explained in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek that the wearable gizmo will miss the all-important holiday shopping season because the teams are laser-focused on making “the best product in the world”.
“One of our competitors is on their fourth or fifth attempt, but nobody is wearing them.” Cook said. “We could have done the watch much earlier, honestly, but not at the fit and finish and quality and integration of these products,” he said. “And so we are willing to wait.”
If you can’t wait to buy yours, 3-D print your very own Apple Watch at home by downloading designer Martin Hajek’s template.
[Apple Daily via GforGames]