Critical manufacturing issues could half production of the Apple Watch
The Apple rumour mill is in full swing once again, this time surrounding production of the Apple Watch. Reports from China, first published by Apple Insider, suggest that Apple has been unable to solve critical issues in the manufacturing of the Apple Watch’s flexible OLED display. The result, says the source, is extremely low production of the much-anticipated gadget. Furthermore, assembly partner Quanta is said to be experiencing significant issues on its production lines due to the device's small size.
According to reports, just 30 to 40 percent of the Apple Watch OLED panels rolling out of display partner LG's factories are usable, which has led Apple to cut its launch production targets from up to 3 million per month to around 1.5 million.
Manufacturing the plastic-backed flexible OLED panels is a vastly different process than the one used for glass-backed panels, the report says, requiring new methods of pulling a vacuum between the panel and the substrate. Traditional water jet vacuum pumps are said to be unsuitable, causing humidity issues.
Problems at contract manufacturer Quanta Computer, the lead assembler for the Apple Watch, are also thought to contribute to the lowered forecast. Quanta are reportedly having trouble adapting its processes to suit the much smaller Watch.
While the rumours may have the Apple fan-base concerned, Apple Insider seems to think the production issues are overplayed at worst and unlikely at best. “LG is among the companies that first invented flexible OLED displays, and has been shipping them at moderately high volumes for years, notably in its own G Flex handsets,” the publication notes. “The rumored assembly problems are even more farfetched, given Apple's recently-demonstrated prowess as a manufacturer. The company is known to be deeply involved with process and tooling on its production lines, and has shown its ability to build and ship huge quantities of devices time and again with the iPhone.”
That being said, this is the second report of Apple Watch yield issues to surface in as many weeks. Last week, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri signaled that yield issues had prompted Apple to add longtime partners Foxconn and Samsung as Apple Watch suppliers.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.