What's Up With Apple: New Watch Production Issues, No Slack and More

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reportedly is having production issues with its new Apple Watch Series 7. Initial small-quantity production has been halted as Apple and its suppliers work through the issue before turning on full production.

According to a report from Nikkei Asia, the Apple Watch production issues “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.”

An unnamed source told Nikkei Asia that every Apple Watch assembler is “facing similar problems in reaching satisfactory production performance based on the current industrial designs.” Another source said that “currently it is hard to tell when the mass production could begin.”

That could affect the much-anticipated new product announcements Apple is expected to make later this month. Nikkei Asia does not indicate that a delay in launching the new watch is imminent, but the production issues could constrain availability or, worse, push out the shipment schedule.

Apple has not yet sent out invitations to its release party, so no one outside the company has been able to confirm a date. In late July, CNET polished up its crystal ball and predicted that the event would be held on September 8, just seven days from now. Because the event is likely to be virtual again this year, there’s still plenty of time for Apple to email invitations to meet that prediction.

One of the products certain to be introduced at the event, whenever it is held, is the iPhone 13. A sharp-eyed Gizmodo reporter, Victoria Song, noted that last Friday’s episode of Apple TV+’s hit Ted Lasso show included a glimpse of a notchless iPhone. Rumors have been flying for months that Apple will eliminate (or at least reduce the size of) the notch that accommodates the iPhone’s rear-facing camera.

Apple has stymied an employee effort to create a Slack channel to discuss pay equity at the company. According to a report at The Verge, an Apple HR spokesperson said that the request to create the channel did not align with the company’s “Slack Terms of Use” which specifies that “Slack channels for activities and hobbies not recognized as Apple Employee clubs or Diversity Network Associations (DNAs) aren’t permitted and shouldn’t be created.”

Discussions of pay equity at Apple have been a sore spot between the company and employees for several months. An employment attorney interviewed by The Verge said that discussions of pay equity are protected under labor laws and for Apple to “to try and impair employees’ ability to discuss pay equity and diversity in the workplace is a clear cut act of retaliation.”

Apple did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

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