Analyst: No Apple iWatch this Year

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Apple's rumored and highly anticipated iWatch won't make it to store shelves this year thanks to production issues. That's the word from KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo who said the device is proving to be very difficult to build thanks to a new manufacturing process Apple had to develop and the use of several specialized components.

KGI analysts think the iWatch won't ship until next year because of production issuesKGI analysts think the iWatch won't ship until next year because of production issues

Mr. Kuo expects the iWatch will launch some time in 2015 instead of this fall. 

Apple has been expected to jump into the wearable tech market soon with a product commonly referred to as the iWatch. The smart watch device is said to include several sensors for tracking our health and fitness, and then feed that information to our iPhones. So far, Apple hasn't offered up any confirmation, although CEO Tim Cook has said he is very interested in the wearables market.

In a note to investors, Mr. Kuo said,

We reiterate our view that iWatch, as compared to existing products, and as Apple's (US) first attempt at a wearable device, represents a much higher level of difficulty for the company as regards component and system design, manufacturing and integration between hardware and software. While we are positive on iWatch and believe that the advantages of the design and business model behind it are difficult to copy, we think, given the aforementioned challenges, that the launch could be postponed to 2015.

Assuming Apple is planning on releasing a wearable device this fall, the company would need to ramp up production soon, and so far there haven't been any indicators that the usual manufacturing partners -- such as Foxconn -- are cranking out the devices. There also haven't been any compelling parts leaks yet, which typically would have surfaced by now.

Despite the lack of information, it's still possible Apple is on track for a fall launch. If the company is building the devices in its own U.S.-based facilities, just as it does with the Mac Pro, potential leaks are much easier to control. The new Mac Pro, for example, was a complete surprise when it was introduced because no information made it to the media ahead of its introduction.

Mr. Kou's sources, however, think Apple simply isn't ready to jump into full scale production, and will have to wait until 2015 to roll out the iWatch.

[Thanks to the Financial Times for the heads up]

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Comments

mrmwebmax

+

It wouldn’t surprise me if the iWatch, like the Mac Pro, was being manufactured in the US for a couple of reasons. Like the Mac Pro, nothing has leaked yet about the iWatch. It has to be the most rumored device on the planet, and has been for a number of years, yet not a single leak. I don’t think that’s possible in Apple’s Asia supply chain. Also, the potential market for the iWatch, too, makes me think that it could be manufactured in the US: I doubt anyone at Apple foresees initial iWatch shipments being even close to iPhone shipments, which means lower manufacturing volume, and perhaps a way to pull it off in US facilities.

FlipFriddle

Anyone think the iWatch thing may be an medical industry device to go along with the Health Kit stuff? The idea of a touch screen watch still doesn’t seem to me to be as disruptive a device to warrant such secrecy by Apple.

Jeff Gamet

I think it’ll cross over between fitness and medical. Sort of the best of both worlds.

mrmwebmax

+

Whatever it is, if they want to whip the media up into a frenzy before a press event, they should release invites with the simple caption: “It’s Time.”

Arnold Ziffel

mrmwebmax,

I’m with you. I remind myself of what Tim Cook said awhile ago, that extrapolating from one datapoint (or in this case, rumorpoint) about Apple’s supply chain is next to worthless when it comes to predicting products and timing. Apple’s good at keeping things close to their vest, e.g., Handoff, Continuity, Swift.

mrmwebmax

+

Arnold,

What’s interesting about predicting products and timing is that the iPhone 6 is rumored to be unveiled on September 9. If you look at Apple’s Home page, their back-to-college special—buy a Mac, iPad, or iPhone for college, get a $100 gift card—expires on the exact same day: September 9. I’m guessing that’s because they know if they want to sell existing iPhones, they better move them before the new one is announced on the very day the college promo runs out.

Arnold Ziffel

mrmwebmax,

Interesting. Sounds credible to me.

RonMacGuy

What I find interesting is that Apple is definitely at more of a disadvantage than other companies when implementing new manufacturing processes or components.  For example, when Samsung designed their initial gear watch thing, they probably got by with inefficient manufacturing processes to rush it to market with a few thousand of them and then they could watch to see how well it is received.  If received well, then they can work out the manufacturing bugs to improve cost/efficiency of manufacturing.  If received poorly, they can focus on redesign and leave inefficient manufacturing in place until they can build the next somewhat-better thing.

In Apple’s case, any new product is almost guaranteed that hundreds of thousands of loyal followers will try it regardless, with the potential of millions of early adopters, so they have to have their manufacturing processes both cost-effective and efficient right from the start.  More of a challenge I think.  But they are doing it very well for the most part.

mrmwebmax

+

RMG,

I think an additional challenge Apple faces as compared to Samsung, especially with the iWatch, is that Apple is known for premium products with premium build quality and premium materials. That will surely make the iWatch more challenging to create than the flimsy plastic crap other manufacturers are cranking out.

Intruder

So, an unannounced product, that Apple has never even confirmed exists, with no release date, might be late?

Wow.

CudaBoy

What iWatch?

Blissmonkey

With all the recent fashionista hirings of late, if it’s at all to do with a potential wearable product, it seems their hiring is too recent for them to have had any input into this latest fashion/tech hybrid that might just be the iWatch.

It makes sense that if they’re to have any input—and why wouldn’t they—that the release would be sometime down the road.  But, as for me, I’m fine with what I’ve got.  If an iWatch does eventually emerge and it’s truly great I’ll buy it.  But why sweat something that hasn’t even happened?

Scott B in DC

Wait… next you’ll tell me that there won’t be an Apple television. That will really bum Gene “Herman” Munster out!!

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