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It's too late for the Apple AirPods this year (AAPL)
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
It's too late for Apple's AirPods.
After missing the crucial Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping holidays in the US, there's little chance the company's new wireless headphones will be able to ship in significant quantities in time for Christmas.
The window has closed, and Apple will likely have to consider a backup plan.
Apple might as well suck it up and hold off the AirPods release until spring of 2017, the same time it's expected to release some radically redesigned iPads .
Independent tech analyst Neil Cybart of Above Avalon summed up Apple's wireless headphone predicament pretty well on Twitter Monday morning:
Received an email from Apple titled "Gifts that are music to their ears."
All about wireless headphones and speakers.
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) November 28, 2016 With December only three days away, I'm not sure it makes much sense to release AirPods in 2016 (even if they are ready).
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) November 28, 2016 Meanwhile, a January release for AirPods contains risks as well (i.e. buying fatigue from holidays).
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) November 28, 2016 Would this push AirPods to Spring 2017? A few months wouldn't change much in the grand scheme of things.
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) November 28, 2016 It'd be an embarrassing delay, of course. Apple originally said the AirPods would launch in October of this year, but announced at the end of that month that they would be delayed to work out some bugs . The company hasn't given a firm release window for the AirPods since that statement.
Even more embarrassing, Apple made the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, touting wireless as the future of audio, with the best experience coming from a gadget you can't even buy.
As I wrote in myinitial review, the pre-production version of the headphones had a bunch of bugs and awkward use cases, and Apple must realize it needs to hammer these out before it can start shipping.
At this point, it's reasonable to expect we won't see the AirPods at all until 2017, unless Apple decides to release them in extremely limited quantities. (And if Apple chooses that latter option, it'd just annoy more people than if the company had decided to wait a few extra months.)
For now, it's better to end the speculation and push the AirPods launch until next year.