Apple Is Rumored to Be Using 3D Printing For Next Apple Watch

Published on July 17, 2023 by Madeleine P.
apple watch ultra 3D printing

Sneakers, bikes, cameras…apple watches? 3D printing is being adopted more and more in the creation of consumer goods thanks to its ability to cut costs while allowing for unique and customized products. Now, a recent rumor has added yet another to the list. Apparently, technology giant Apple will be turning to titanium 3D printing in the creation of the mechanical parts of the next Apple Watch Ultra, to launch later this year.

Though it is just a rumor at this point (neither Apple now the allegedly involved 3D printing companies have confirmed), it does come from a source known for his reliability when it comes to predicting Apple trends. Ming-Chi Kuo is an analyst at TF International Securities, a financial services group in Asia-Pacific. He is known for gathering intelligence from contacts in Apple’s Asian supply chain and has had significant success in his predictions on future Apple products as well as a reliable source for Apple rumors. This latest one was published in Bloomberg at the end of last week and posits that Apple is making titanium mechanical parts for the 2H23 Apple Watch Ultra with 3D printing, using solutions from Farsoon and BLT.

The original Apple Watch Ultra is marketed as a watch for serious athletes (photo credits: Apple)

Using 3D Printing for the Apple Watch Ultra

This is actually not the first time that Apple has turned to 3D printing. The mobile devices giant may already be using solutions from Optomec, a company known for its Aerosol Jet technology designed for electronics additive manufacturing, as reported last year in Forbes. Furthermore, the company has previously been reported to use the technologies for prototyping. But if this rumor is true, it would mark the first time that 3D printing has been at the center of a new Apple release.

As mentioned, according to Kuo, this titanium 3D printing will be done using solutions from Farsoon and BLT. Both Chinese manufacturers are known for laser powder bed fusion machines, including those that are compatible with metal powders such as titanium. Moreover, they are known for their focus on industrial applications in a number of different sectors ranging from aerospace to healthcare and lifestyle and more. It would make sense therefore for the two to be considered if Apple were to make end-use parts with 3D printing.

That being said, the decision itself has spurred quite a lot of discussion among forums. However, it is important to consider the vast benefits that 3D printing could bring to Apple. Metal additive manufacturing has already been proven to reduce production costs and time as well as to strengthen the supply chain. All advantages that apparently have been considered in this rumored decision. Additionally, one of the common complaints about the Apple Watch Ultra are its bulkiness and weight, both of which could be addressed by the manufacturer of more complex geometries for the parts via additive manufacturing.

Apple is rumored to be adopting metal laser powder bed fusion for the Apple Watch Ultra (photo credits: Farsoon)

Still, Kuo mentions that even if 3D printing is being used for the mechanical parts, they will still need to go through CNC processes for back-end processes. Additionally, he mentions his belief that the new Apple Watch Ultra will be put forth as a test and that if it is successful, even more Apple products will start using additive manufacturing. In any case, we will keep an eye on any news coming out from any of the companies in the coming months.

What do you think about this rumor about the Apple Watch Ultra? Do you think Apple is turning to 3D printing? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*Cover Photo Credits: Apple

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