More Suppliers Secure Apple Watch 2 Orders as Launch Inches Closer

With the Apple Watch 2 expected to launch in the second half of 2016, supply chain informant DigiTimes reports that Samsung and other overseas manufacturers have secured component orders for the next-generation device.

Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering will fulfill the majority of system-on-a-chip production, while Amkor Technology and STATS ChipPAC will share a portion of remaining orders, according to the report.

Meanwhile, additional Taiwanese supplier Kinsus Interconnect Technology is said to have secured Apple Watch 2 substrate orders, and Samsung Electronics will reportedly fabricate the Apple Watch 2's processor, consisting of mobile DRAM, NAND flash, and other chips. Both Kinsus and Samsung provide components for the original Apple Watch, which is powered by Apple's custom-designed S1 chip.

Previous reports indicated that Quanta Computer will likely remain the key Apple Watch 2 manufacturer. The supplier reportedly began trial production of the second-generation watch in January, in time for a purported late-second-quarter launch around June. Volume shipments were said to begin in the third quarter, which could be any point between early July and late September.

Opportunities for Apple to introduce a second-generation Apple Watch include its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, or its annual iPhone introduction event in September. The original Apple Watch was announced in early September 2014 and released in late April 2015, suggesting an elongated 14 to 19 month release cycle between models that may help avoid consumer exhaustion.

Apple analyst Brian White recently speculated that a 20% to 40% thinner Apple Watch 2 could be unveiled by June, possibly at WWDC, but his track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming plans is far from perfect. More reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the Apple Watch 2 will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2016, in line with a fall launch alongside the iPhone 7.

Few details are known about the Apple Watch 2 beyond a June 2015 report that said it will feature a FaceTime video camera and expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, while new bands and finishes are always a possibility. Kuo believes the Apple Watch 2 will feature mostly internal improvements, and possibly minor form factor changes, with a more complete redesign of the device not arriving until 2017.

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