Apple is currently preparing itself to launch a new Apple Watch during the second half of this year, according to a new rumor out of the supply chain.
The Cupertino-based tech giant has reportedly tapped Compal Electronics to shoulder some of the manufacturing for the current-generation Apple Watch, and will begin shipping products in the second half of this year, according to DigiTimes. The publication also suggested that Quanta Computer will continue to handle the majority of production for what will presumably the Apple Watch Series 3.
“Currently, Apple Watch orders are solely handled by Quanta Computer,” DigiTimes wrote. “The upcoming next-generation Apple Watch, which is scheduled to be released in the second half, will continue to be manufactured by the Taiwan-based ODM; however, production of the existing second-generation Apple Watch will be partially given to Compal.”
The Taiwanese notebook maker has reportedly been moving infrastructure and equipment to its plants in Chongqing in preparation for Apple Watch manufacturing — which is expected to help the Taipei-based company mitigate the effects of declining notebook orders. Compal has been aggressively expanding into the consumer wearables industry, with Apple Watch shipments expected to help drive the company’s growth in that area, DigiTimes’ supply chain source said.
DigiTimes doesn’t have a spotless track record when it comes to rumors, but the publication does a pretty good job of keeping its ear to the ground as far as supply chain reports. Besides, a second-half release would make sense for Apple who unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2 in September 2016, and normally releases new products on an annual basis. As far as what the Apple Watch Series 3 will look like, we’ve heard a variety of rumors surrounding the upcoming smartwatch — from wristband-mounted haptic feedback motors to FaceTime Cameras and advanced wrist gesture controls. One analyst who toured Cupertino’s supply chain in the Far East even claimed that the Series 3 would feature LTE connectivity.
Apple reportedly shipped 11.9 million Apple Watches last year, according to an estimate by research firm Canalys. That accounts for around 50 percent of all global smartwatch shipments in 2016.
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