Sapphire-coated iWatch production not expected to begin until November

Apple-iWatch-01

Will Apple have iWatches ready to hit the shelves when it announces the wearable at its rumored event in October? Probably not.

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who is undoubtedly the most accurate Apple analyst on the planet, is saying that Apple won’t begin mass production of the iWatch until November. He has also lowered his sales projections considerably because of “complications” Apple has to deal with concerning new materials like sapphire.

Earlier this year, Kuo predicted that the iWatch would be released alongside a bunch of other new Apple hardware in the fall. That’s still the case by most accounts, but the timing seems to still be in limbo as Apple works out kinks in the manufacturing process.

According to Kuo, the iWatch will indeed have a slightly curved AMOLED display with a sapphire protective coating. It’s already been rumored that sapphire will be in the iWatch along with the iPhone 6, so that’s no surprise. A recent scratch test with an iPhone 6 display panel showed that sapphire is basically indestructible, which is what you want on your wrist.

A slightly curved AMOLED display with a sapphire protective coating

Sapphire is also complicated and expensive to make, and the most of it that Apple has ever put into its hardware is the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5s. Remember how constrained those supplies were around launch time last fall? Perhaps that’s why Kuo only expects Apple to sell around 3 million iWatches by the end of the year.

Other hardware details from Kuo include higher waterproof standards and a system-on-a-chip design that would greatly reduce the size of the chips needed to power the device. The iWatch is rumored to have at least 10 sensors for stuff like analyzing sweat, feature a 2.5-inch display, and possibly come in different sizes for men and women.

Kuo previously said that Apple will charge a premium and market it as a fashion device. We’re talking thousands of dollars. That sounds a little outrageous until you consider that Apple could have the device subsidized by insurance providers that want more access to your health information. It could be similar to how carriers subsidize the cost of a $600+ iPhone over the life of a contract.

Apple certainly has the talent it needs if it chooses to go the high-end fashion route as well.

A lot is still up in the air right now concerning Apple’s wearables plans, but even if it may be hard to actually get your hands on an iWatch by then, it looks like we’ll see something announced before Christmas.

  • Barrett Jasper

    If true the better hurry to make the holiday shopping season or that’d be a ton of lost revenue before Christmas. EVERYONE will be buying these if rumors are true that it’ll be manufactured. Well not everyone but it’s Apple. People will buy it no doubt and a LOT of them.

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Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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