We’re anxiously waiting for Apple to announce the next iPhone event, but there’s news out of Nikkei Asia that could prove disappointing for Apple Watch customers. Citing sources familiar with Apple Watch Series 7 production, the outlet reports that the redesigned hardware (renders pictured above) is causing production delays ahead of launch. Apple typically releases major new updates to the Apple Watch in September (save for last year’s slight delay due to COVID).

Here’s what Nikkei has to say on the eve of September:

Production of the upcoming Apple Watch has been delayed in large part due to the complicated designs of the new smartwatch, Nikkei Asia has learned.

Manufacturers of Apple Watch 7, as the device is expected to be called, began small-scale production last week but encountered critical challenges in reaching satisfactory production performance, multiple people familiar with the situation said.

Three sources said the current disappointing production quality could be attributed to the complexity of design, which is significantly different from that of previous generations of the watch, and the assemblers found issues when putting together electronics modules, components and displays.

While it’s wild to think that Apple Watch Series 7 production only began in earnest last week, Apple does tend to crank up iPhone and Apple Watch production in August before a late September launch.

While it’s not stated in the report, it’s possible that this could mean the Apple Watch Series 7 is released after the iPhone 13. Apple has historically released updates to the Apple Watch alongside new iPhones. It’s also possible that supply could be severely constrained at launch for the redesigned model.

Nikkei goes on to say that production has actually been halted for the Apple Watch Series 7.

As a result, the production of the new watch has been temporarily halted as Apple and its suppliers try to sort out the problems and further certify the designs before going into mass production, four people said.

The next Apple Watch will come with new features such as blood pressure measurement, they said, which means production involves fitting a greater number of components into a similar size body. The new product must also meet requirements for water-resistance performance, further increasing the engineering and production challenges, the people said.

The new Apple Watch design is expected to dramatically change the shape of the casing to more align with the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro look. Apple’s latest devices including the newly designed iMac and rumored MacBook Pro update use a boxier design than the curved Apple Watches so far.

The display is also expected to be bumped slightly, possibly thanks to thinner bezels, with 40mm and 44mm becoming 41mm and 45mm, respectively.

Nikkei includes ongoing travel restrictions intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 as another factor cited by sources.

However, disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Apple and its suppliers to travel back and forth to verify the new specifications, making it hard to discover difficulties with the design until test production starts, two of the people said.

On a positive note, Nikkei includes in its reporting that the Apple Watch Series 7 is expected to debut blood pressure measurement functionality and a stronger water resistance rating.

Apple is expected to announce the annual iPhone event where Apple Watch is unveiled for a date as soon as September 14. The announcement could come on September 7 if rumors pan out this year.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created SpaceExplored.com.