Top analyst says Apple will use 3D printer to make parts for the second-gen Watch Ultra

Top analyst says Apple will use 3D printer to make parts for the second-gen Watch Ultra
TF International's Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is considered one of the most accurate tipsters/leakers of all things Apple. In a tweet dated today, Kuo writes that the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, expected to be released in the second half of this year, will feature titanium mechanical parts with some made using 3D printers to save the company some time and money. Per AppleInsider, this would indicate that Apple will be reducing the use of the Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) process.

With CNC, CAD designs are used to automatically have machines cut the required materials. Kuo says that Apple will still continue to use CNC to finish the production of some of the parts made via the 3D Printer. Kuo says that by using the 3D printer, the tech giant will be able to speed up production time and cut costs. The analyst believes that Apple will eventually use the 3D printer to create parts for other devices.

Kuo writes in his full report that "In terms of the supply chain for 3D printers used to produce mechanical parts for the Apple Watch Ultra, IPG Photonics is the exclusive supplier of laser components, and the printer suppliers are Farsoon and BLT. If shipments go well, I believe more Apple products will adopt 3D printing technology, which will help improve production cost and ESG performance in Apple’s supply chain, and the above-mentioned suppliers will also benefit from this new production trend."

ESG performance refers to a scoring method used to determine whether a company is fulfilling its obligations related to the environment, social, and governmental issues. That's because a 3D printer doesn't use the same amount of energy as a machine that cuts materials helpping Apple score points for environmental reasons.  Currently, Apple has an average ESG score among the 46 companies in the tech hardware, storage, and peripherals sector. According to Yahoo, Apple's ESG score is 17 which is considered low among all companies and places Apple in the 15th percentile.

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