Defective Apple watch component slowed rollout


The Wall Street Journal reports that the wrist gadget's "taptic engine," which generates feely responses such as vibrations, had a problem: two companies supplied the component, and one of them mucked it up.

AAC Technologies Holdings of Shenzhen, China, reportedly supplied defective taptic engines, forcing Apple to slow down the rollout of the long-awaited device.

Though Apple Watch's long waiting list looks good in the press, it's money left on the table for the world's most profitable consumer electronics company.

It looks like the shonky engines didn't make it into the wild, and Recode's Dawn Chmielev reported that Apple shifted production to its other supplier after learning of the faults.

Some made it to early reviewers, however, with top Apple watcher John Gruber reporting his own watch had the taptic problem, which he described in detail:

And without taps, Apple Watch is rather dull. The first unit I received from Apple seemingly had a hardware defect. Taps worked at first, but I found them surprisingly weak — so weak they were easy to miss, even with the watch strapped relatively snugly to my wrist. By the end of the first day, taps weren't working at all. Apple sent me a replacement unit the next day, and it was like an altogether different experience. Without the Taptic Engine, Apple Watch is not a compelling device.

The Apple watch was hailed as its first major new product since the iPad, muscling in on a smartwatch space crowded by pioneering but often poorly-received devices from Motorola, Sony and others. Estimates suggest millions of Apple Watches have been sold, but CEO Tim Cook isn't yet putting a number on it.