Apple is rumoured to be 3D printing its new smart watches
According to reports, Apple is testing the use of 3D printing to make the stainless-steel chassis for its new smart watches.
Bloomberg has reported that the company will be conducting preliminary tests of the technology in the production phase of the upcoming Apple Watch 9. If these initial tests prove successful, Apple intends to incorporate this technology into the manufacturing processes of additional products in the years ahead.
Currently, Apple Watch casings are manufactured by cutting metal slabs into the desired shape. Bloomberg's report suggests that adopting 3D printing techniques would not only shorten the production time for these devices but also reduce the quantity of materials required.
Additionally, Apple plans to implement the 3D printing process in the upcoming iteration of the titanium-encased Apple Watch Ultra, planned for release next year. However, Bloomberg's report highlights that the company has encountered challenges in scaling up the production of 3D-printed aluminium enclosures, which are currently utilised in Apple's Mac and iPad product lines.
In the long term, Apple reaffirmed its commitment to sourcing both recycled aluminium and steel for its enclosures, aligning with a goal originally set in 2017 and reiterated in 2022. The utilisation of recycled aluminium has already become a relatively common practice for Apple. As of 2021, the company disclosed that 59% of the aluminium incorporated into its products originated from recycled sources. Furthermore, "many products" from Apple now employ enclosures made entirely from 100% recycled aluminium.
While it is just a rumour at this point, as neither Apple nor the alleged 3D printing companies have confirmed, the information originates from a source with a strong track record for accurately forecasting Apple's trends. Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, is known for his ability to gather insights from contacts within Apple's Asian supply chain. He has earned credibility for his accurate predictions regarding future Apple products and is considered a dependable source for Apple-related rumours.
So, watch this space!