PALO ALTO, U.S. — Apple declined to set a specific shipping date for its latest smartwatch at a glossy launch event Tuesday that hinted at production difficulties at the tech giant.

The Apple Watch 7 series, which features a bigger screen thanks to thinner bezels, will be available “later this fall,” the company said.

It will be available in five colors at a starting price of $399, Apple said, calling it the most durable Apple Watch it has developed.

The revamped watch’s complex design has caused behind-the-scenes issues, Nikkei Asia previously reported. Manufacturers began small-scale production in late August and encountered challenges meeting quality standards, leading to delays in the ramp-up in production.

The event, led by Apple CEO Tim Cook also showed off the new iPhone 13 and upgraded iPads, along with an expansion of Apple’s fitness services business to include group workouts.

New versions of the iPad Mini, featuring a faster processor and 5G connectivity, will be ready for preorder immediately and available in-store from Sept. 24 with a starting price of $499.

The event comes at a time of severe strain in the electronics supply chain. COVID-19 disruptions and global chip shortages caused production difficulties for the company, especially in Macs and iPads, Apple said on its most recent earnings call. It said it expected the trouble to spread to iPhones in the current quarter. Supply issues added costs of nearly $3 billion in the April-June quarter.

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