updated 12:07 pm EST, Thu January 2, 2014
Injection molding process allegedly to blame
Several wearable electronic devices -- namely the Apple iWatch and the Qualcomm Toq -- are seeing yield rates below 50 percent in manufacturing, supply chain sources claim. The trouble is said to involve surface treatments for metal injection-molded (MIM) chassis. While MIM used to be applied to internal designs, MIM is increasingly being used for external parts as well, requiring extra surface work. This appears to be at odds with the high quantities companies like Apple are demanding.
Businesses including Sony, Samsung, Pebble, Casio, Nike, Adidas, Epson, and LG are all said to be working on new wearables for 2014. The iWatch, notably, is still unannounced, but could arrive as soon as the second calendar quarter. Apple's exact plans for it are uncertain, but it's expected to integrate with iOS devices and incorporate several health and fitness-related sensors.