Taiwanese publication DigiTimes is reporting through its anonymous sources inside the upstream supply chain that wearable devices such as the widely rumoured Apple iWatch and the Qualcomm Toq, are seeing less than 50% yield rates due to difficulties applying surface treatments on their metal injection molded (MIM) chassis.
The source claims that the MIM process is used in the mass production of high-precision products with complicated industrial designs as it allows components to feature special shapes, but still maintain rigidness. MIM-made components were previously used inside products, but as the components are now becoming part of the external design, surface treatments have become an important process for the final look of the products.
Since clients have high demand over quality, and also need high volumes of supply, most component makers are having difficulties satisfying both of requirements.
In addition to Apple and Qualcomm, Sony, Samsung Electronics, Pebble, Casio, Nike, Adidas, Epson and LG are all preparing to launch new wearable devices in 2014.
A recent report from DigiTimes also claimed that the iWatch will be the biggest boost to the market’s overall smartwatch shipments, and that it would be released in the second half of this year.