Defective part slows Apple Watch rollout

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Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
Problems with a key component appear to have slowed Apple Watch's launch. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch has been in short supply ever since its hype-filled launch, and a new report claims that it’s all the Taptic Engine’s fault.

Defects in the key Apple Watch component were found in the Apple’s supply chain, severely limiting early supplies of the wearable, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Apple bans ‘bonded servitude’ in its vast supply chain

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

What if you had to pay a month’s wages up front just to get a job?

It’s a concept that’s largely foreign to Western culture, but bonded servitude is still rampant in other parts of the world, namely Asia. That also happens to be where much of Apple’s supply chain is located, and starting today the company is cracking down on the corrupt practice.

iPhone 6 components are readily available

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FULLSCREEN

Want to buy some iPhone 6 parts?

To prove he had an actual iPhone 6 screen in his possession, a repair company owner who contacted Cult of Mac took this photograph, which confirms the component's size.

iPhone 6 screen

This iPhone 6 screen measures 4.7 inches diagonally, the widely rumored size of the "smaller" smartphone that will be unveiled Tuesday by Apple.

iPhone 6 LCD front

We were offered this iPhone 6 screen -- which is "definitely" made from sapphire glass says the seller -- for $500.

iPhone 6 LCD back

The seller -- a repair shop owner -- said we could pay for the screen on delivery to make sure it was genuine. He was going to throw in the cables too.

iPhone 6 hard case

This is a non-functioning iPhone 6 dummy the repair shop owner made for a U.S. case manufacturer. The accessory maker wants to get the jump on its competitors by putting iPhone 6 cases on store shelves as quickly as possible.

Rear shell of iPhone 6

This is the back of the new iPhone 6. It is also available from Apple's Chinese suppliers -- for a price.

Sapphire glass

This is the new sapphire glass that will front the iPhone 6. This picture was sent to the repair shop owner from his suppliers in China. He hasn't tested the screen for strength but sincerely hopes it can be broken. "More business for me," he said.

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iPhone 6 displays

Another picture from China showing the iPhone 6 screen assembly compared to the iPhone 5c. This is the smaller iPhone 6 (4.7-inch diagonal screen), but it still dwarfs the current iPhone.

iPhone 6 displays

Another view of the iPhone 6 screen compared to the current iPhone 5, this time showing the back.

Charging dock flex cable

The remaining pictures in this gallery are sent from China showing the various repair components that are readily available.

Flex cables

Sensor flex cables like these are easy to come by.

True Tone flash cable

A look at the front and back of the updated True Tone flash for the iPhone 6 with four LEDs.

Home buttons

The iPhone 6 home buttons come in gold, silver and space gray.

iPhone 6 home button

A backside view of the iPhone 6's home button cable.

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Speaker boxes

Speaker assemblies for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Touch ID flex cables

This is the wiring magic that makes Touch ID possible.

Lightning port

This Lightning port flex cable is ready to go into a brand new (or broken) iPhone 6.

Apple’s iPhone 6 is supposed to be a big secret in this part of the world, but in China, parts are readily available.

Although the iPhone 6 hasn’t been announced and won’t be in stores for a couple of weeks, everything from the new aluminum case to the sapphire-covered LCD screen is available on the Chinese gray market.

Cult of Mac has been contacted by a U.S. smartphone repair company that offered to sell us a bunch of iPhone 6 components — almost enough to assemble our own device.

“I can get all the parts except the motherboards are very rare and very expensive to purchase,” said the owner of the repair company, who asked to remain anonymous. “The display assemblies alone are $500 per piece right now.”

The repair company owner claims iPhone 6 parts — especially for the upcoming 4.7-inch model — are readily available in China from suppliers to the repair industry.

“All the parts needed for repairs they acquire shortly before release — this is normal,” he said. “Usually they have no need to sell the parts because there’s no demand this early but I’ve bought samples from them … so I can buy parts in the future.”