Supply Chain Hints at Apple Releasing Augmented Reality Headset No Later Than 2019

Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta Computer, a primary assembler of the Apple Watch, has revealed that it is working on an augmented reality product for an undisclosed company that some industry observers believe is Apple.

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Quanta's vice chairman C.C. Leung suggested the device will be a "headset-like gadget with a fully transparent lens that allows users to see through and interact with the environment," according to Nikkei Asian Review.

"Currently, we see such a device available in the market no later than the year 2019," he told reporters after the company's earnings conference.

Leung noted that if an augmented reality device could carry a price tag lower than $1,000, it would likely become a hit in the market, although it is unlikely he has any knowledge of Apple's pricing plans if they even exist yet.

Quanta is the second Apple supplier to mention involvement with an augmented reality product after fellow Taiwanese company Catcher Technology said it has been tapped to supply parts for an undisclosed wearable device.

Bloomberg was among the first to report on Apple's work on an augmented reality headset. It said Apple aims to have the technology ready by 2019, and could ship a finished product as early as 2020, which is a slightly longer timeline.

The headset's custom operating system, based on iOS, is reportedly dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures as it creates prototypes, the report said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during a recent interview about augmented reality.

"Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Cook has repeatedly expressed a "profound interest" in augmented reality, which he favors over virtual reality. Apple's ARKit platform on iOS 11 enables developers to integrate augmented reality features into iPhone and iPad apps, potentially laying the foundation for what's to come.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Multiple Apple Suppliers Share Revenue Reports Ahead of ‘Peak’ iPhone and Apple Watch Season

A collection of Apple suppliers have shared revenue reports today, which also provide a glimpse into the upcoming "peak" iPhone and Apple Watch manufacturing season. Starting off, Foxconn looked back at its profits in July and reported consolidated revenues of NT$315.06 billion (US$10.62 billion) for the month, which marks an increase of 7.53 percent year-on-year. For the first seven months of 2017, Foxconn's combined revenues were NT$2.2 trillion, increasing by 1.64 percent year-on-year (via DigiTimes).

Those watching Foxconn's revenue report are now expecting the October-December period to be the "peak of 2017" for the company, thanks to its status as one of Apple's biggest suppliers and the launch of the iPhone 8 sometime in September. Foxconn's revenue will increase "gradually" in August, according to market watchers, and will continue until the end of the year. Holiday spending traditionally helps increase Apple and its suppliers' revenue, even boosting Foxconn's December period in 2016 in the face of an overall year that saw its first-ever profit decline.

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Some market watchers expect Foxconn's revenues to increase gradually beginning August and the growth will last until the end of 2017 with the fourth quarter being the peak of 2017 for Foxconn.
Apple Watch supplier Quanta Computer announced revenues for the second quarter of 2017 at NT$235.37 billion (US$7.93 billion), growing 3.3 percent from the previous quarter and 13.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. Today's report stated that next-generation Apple Watch shipments will begin in the fourth quarter, gradually increasing Quanta's financial performance in the second half of 2017 -- a sentiment that's been shared in previous supply chain reports due to Quanta's status as the sole supplier of the "Apple Watch Series 3."
With the notebook market entering the traditional peak season, its server shipments expected to enjoy growth and the next-generation Apple Watch set to begin shipments in the fourth quarter, some market watchers expect Quanta's financial performances to gradually pick up in the second half of 2017.
In other supply chain ramp-up stories, TSMC has entered mass production on the iPhone 8's A11 chip in the third quarter of 2017. The next-generation chip is being crafted with a new 10-nanometer FinFET process, and originally began production back in May after a month-long delay. TSMC is also using its 10nm manufacturing process to build the new iPad Pro's A10X processors, and it's predicted the A11 processors will also find their way into the "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus."
In addition, TSMC has already started mass production of 10nm FinFET chips in the third quarter, driven by Apple's orders, the report indicated. TSMC's 10nm FinFET process has been adopted by Apple for its A10X processors for use in its 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets and A11 chips that will power the upcoming iPhones.
There have been numerous reports from Apple's supply chain in recent weeks, timed ahead of the rumored announcement of the iPhone 8 in September. These include a report centered on Lumentum and "massive" orders it has received for components related to its vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers. Such technology is believed to be for the advanced camera and 3D sensing features of the iPhone 8.

Last week, all three new iPhones were reportedly entering volume production, and Samsung Display began gearing up to operate seven of its next-generation OLED lines at full capacity earlier this month, all aimed at the iPhone 8. In terms of the main suppliers for Apple's next-generation OLED smartphone, Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron are predicted to hit a sales high in the period running from September to November of this year, due to shipments of finished iPhones that will "start gaining momentum" as soon as this month.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: TSMC, Foxconn, Quanta

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Apple Watch Series 3 Expected to Debut in Fall 2017, Boosting Manufacturing Partner Quanta’s Revenue

Apple has sourced Quanta Computer as the primary manufacturer of the Apple Watch since the original wearable device began a production ramp-up in late 2014/early 2015 for its official launch in the spring of 2015.

The supplier was again the sole source of Apple Watch manufacturing for the Series 2 models in 2016, and a new article out today by Chinese-language site Economic Daily News has echoed previous reports that stated Apple will yet again keep Quanta as its main Apple Watch supplier for the so-called "Apple Watch Series 3." The move is expected to lead Quanta into a "strong" second half of 2017, further cementing the next-generation Apple Watch's debut this upcoming fall (via DigiTimes).


Additionally, Quanta's income towards the end of the year is poised to rise thanks to the manufacturer's supply of notebooks and servers, but the Apple Watch Series 3 is described as one of the company's biggest assets. Secondary to Quanta, EDN's report today cited market watchers who believe Compal will also be sourced as an Apple Watch supplier this year, but with a focus on older-generation models and not including Series 3.
Quanta Computer is expected to enjoy a strong second-half 2017 thanks to rising demand for notebooks, growing server sales and the release of the next-generation Apple Watch, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

Apple is reportedly planning to launch its third-generation Apple Watch in 2017 and the wearable is likely to help Quanta's Apple Watch product line turn profitable. Although Compal Electronics reportedly has joined the supply chain of the Apple Watch, the market watchers believe Apple is likely to let Compal mainly handle older-generation models, the paper added.
While rumors leading into the fall of 2017 have largely focused on the iPhone 8, it is believed that Apple will launch an all-new Apple Watch device this year, perhaps at the same iPhone debut event expected in September. The company used that strategy last fall when it announced and launched the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2 within the same September timeframe.

Besides the expected new-generation bumps to processing speeds and a longer battery life, Apple Watch Series 3 has been rumored to include cellular connectivity so users could make phone calls, send iMessages, and stream Apple Music without needing to be tethered to their iPhone, with the caveat of an added data plan likely. The Series 3 device is also said to not include any major visual overhauls to the Apple Watch design, keeping the same case and band form factor that Apple has used since 2015.


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New Apple Watch to Launch in Fall 2017 With Improved Battery Life But no Major Design Changes

Apple's third-generation Apple Watch is expected to be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017 and will focus on improving battery life and overall performance, according to a new report out of China.

On Tuesday, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) claimed the next iteration of the wearable device will be manufactured by Taiwan-based Quanta, which was also responsible for the production of Apple's first and second-generation smartwatch.

apple watch series 2 2
Citing market watchers with knowledge of Quanta's plans, the paper said improving battery life is the manufacturer's "main task", but beside general performance improvements, the device's other hardware would not see much change. Quanta declined to comment on the report, calling it "market speculation".

The claims represent the first tentative indication of Apple's launch timeline for its third-generation Apple Watch, pointing to a possible fall unveiling of the new wearable alongside this year's iPhone 8.

The report also narrows Apple's rumored ambitions for the third-generation device, with previous reports suggesting it could introduce the first significant design changes for the timepiece, such as more advanced sensors that Apple was not able to include in the first and second-generation models.

Other previous rumors have claimed Apple plans to add cellular connectivity to the next Apple Watch, after battery life concerns prevented the feature from being included in the Series 2 device. Also suggested is a potential switch to micro-LED displays, which are thinner and lighter than current screens and offer improved color gamut and brightness.

Filed patents by Apple show other possibilities for future versions of Apple Watch, including the ability to determine a user's identity through their heart rate and unique cardio rhythms. Future models could also potentially integrate haptic feedback into Apple Watch bands, freeing up internal space for other components and allowing for a thinner body design.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tags: Quanta, Apple Watch 3
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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