DigiTimes: Apple getting ready to ramp up Apple Watch production

Apple Watch (Ariel Adams 001)

Apple’s suppliers are “gearing up” to ramp up Apple Watch production ahead of its early-2015 release, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said Thursday. While not the most accurate of sources, DigiTimes usually gets supply chain rumors right.

Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts recently told employees that the Apple Watch will be launching in Spring 2015. The device will start out at $349 for the entry-level model with aluminum chassis and plastic band.

The stainless steel model should be priced at $500, with an 18-karat gold variant commanding a price tag between $4,000 and $5,000, according to the rumor-mill.

Industry sources told the trade publication that chip suppliers are gearing up to start production of the chips powering the device, meaning Apple’s in-house designed “S1” system-on-a-chip which combines an entire computer architecture onto a single chip.

“Orders for chips for the Apple Watch, set to debut in early 2015, are estimated at 30-40 million units,” the sources indicated. The publication ahead of Apple’s iPhone 6 event in September said the device was at the engineering verification test stage.

If today’s report is accurate, the Apple Watch has passed product verification testing and is now ready for mass production. Pundits believe the Apple Watch will hit the market after the Chinese New Year and in time for Valentine’s Day 2015.

Previous rumors have asserted that Apple’s manufacturing partner Quanta Computer will be assembling the device on an exclusive basis.