It’s Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.
And Apple’s AirPods, the new wireless headphones that were supposed to launch a month ago, are nowhere to be found.
Apple originally said the $159 AirPods would launch in October, but it announced a delay with only a few days left in the month.
“We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” Apple said in a statement at the time.
The delay is well deserved. While the AirPods are a clever concept, I’ve experienced some glitches and odd use cases for them with the pre-production model Apple let me borrow. My biggest complaint is that there’s no easy way to control volume and music playback.
For example, if you want to raise the volume, you have to double tap one of the AirPods, which activates Siri and pauses your music. Then you have to tell Siri to raise the volume. Then your music starts playing again. It’s an awkward solution at best, especially when the wired EarPods that come with the iPhone have those handy buttons for audio controls.
I’ve also experienced some various issues with the AirPods’ Bluetooth connection. Sometimes the audio cuts out or the microphone doesn’t work when I’m trying to answer a call. (Again, I’ve been testing pre-production units, and Apple has said it won’t release a product before it’s ready, so I feel pretty confident these issues are being ironed out now.)
Still, the AirPods delay is a rare setback for Apple. After making the controversial decision to eliminate the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, it pitched AirPods and other wireless headsets as the future of audio. But that doesn’t do anyone much good if customers have to wait indefinitely for the AirPods to launch.
Apple hasn’t given a firm launch date for the AirPods, but some analysts have spoken to the company’s components suppliers and believe the headsets will go into full production in December, just in time for Christmas.