The next Apple Watch is expected to be launched in this year’s second half. This version will most likely be named Apple Watch 3. The information was revealed by DigiTimes, a publication which boasts of numerous sources within the supply chain of Apple.

According to DigiTimes Apple has signed up a new supply chain partner in the name of Compal Electronics. The new supplier will be given responsibility for the production of the Apple Watch 2. This is thought to be a strategy to make the load lighter for Qanta Computer which has been exclusively producing the smartwatches for Apple and which is going to be manufacturing the Apple Watch 3.

Regular released date

Though the reports have not been confirmed by Apple, a release in the second half would be in line with the iPhone maker’s tradition of launching new products around that time of the year. The Apple Watch Series 2 was for instance launched last year in September. Additionally, the next iPhone is expected in September and with the Apple Watch being a primary accessory of the iconic smartphone, it only seems natural to release them together.

In 2016 Apple analysts estimated that the Cupertino, California-based technology giant shipped more than 11 million smartwatches. This comprised approximately for close to 50% of all smartwatch shipments according to Canalys, a research firm.

For Compal, the order from Apple comes at an opportune time since it has faced a slowdown in the manufacture of laptops which has been one of its core businesses. Despite the slowdown, Compal is still the second-biggest manufacturer of notebooks in the world. It has, however, been diversifying in the last few years and some of these efforts have been paying off. In 2016, for instance, more than five million wearable devices were shipped by Compal. In 2017, this figure is expected to be double as it is estimated that Compal will ship about 10 million wearable device units. The Apple Watch 2 will comprise a significant portion of these shipments.

In preparing for the new responsibility of manufacturing Apple smartwatches, Compal is understood to have moved smart device production equipment to its Chongqing manufacturing facilities. This transfer of equipment is believed to have begun last year in the second half. The Chongqing facilities are expected to become the main manufacturing sites for devices ranging from smartphones to tablets to wearables. Alternative uses of the plants in Kunshan and Nanjing in Eastern China is yet to be decided upon.