Update: A new Apple Watch 8 alleged render image hints that we won't be getting a big design change from Apple's next smartwatch.
The Apple Watch 7 is reportedly free of its pre-production problems, although it may still face delays.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider) says in a new Apple investor note that previously reported production issues with the Apple Watch 7 have now been solved. Mass production of the new smartwatch will now begin in mid-September, which is behind schedule but only by a couple of weeks.
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According to Kuo, the production problems that Apple had enountered with the reliability of the touchscreen and display have now been fixed. By quickly iterating on the design, moving to a new OLED production line and implementing a new tougher cable design, it now seems like Apple and its partners have fixed everything in the nick of time.
AppleInsider quotes Kuo as writing: "Due to the adoption of many new panel-related production processes for the first time, the Apple Watch 7 panel module encountered reliability issues during the risk-ramp phase before Jabil started mass production, mainly including blinking panel and touch insensitivity.
Apple has solved the panel module reliability issue by going through different designs of experiments (DOE) to find the best production configuration and adjusting the qualification standards on the panel and assembly sides."
However, since these problems occurred with suppliers early in the Apple Watch supply chain, the delay is getting passed along. There's a two-week delay in the mass production schedule for the Apple Watch 7, according to Kuo. If that's the case, it could still mean limited initial availability, or even a delay to the pre-order/launch date for the watch.
Apple's likely run into problems due to the multiple new design elements rumored for the Apple Watch 7. It's said to have flat sides like the iPhone 12 series, rather than the rounded body of previous models, and both the smaller and larger versions are reportedly increasing in size to 41mm and 45mm, respectively.
Apple Watch 8 could have a temperature sensor
In the same investor note, Kuo mentioned next year's Apple Watch 8. He claims that the 2022 smartwatch will feature new health-focussed features, including temperature measurement.
This feature was actually discussed recently in a report by the Wall Street Journal. It also claims that the 2022 Apple Watch would have a thermometer built-in, although the focus would be on fertility tracking rather than fitness.
Unfortunately, there's no word on blood-glucose monitoring functionality. This feature, useful for health tracking and possibly even for diabetics, was rumored for the Apple Watch 7, as well as the rival Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. However, the Galaxy Watch 4 launched without this ability and rumors for the Apple Watch 7 suggest it won't appear on that smartwatch either.