If you were planning on making Apple’s AirPods a last-minute addition to your holiday wish list, then you’d better come up with a backup plan. After multiple delays that had pushed the wireless earbuds to a December 2016 release, Apple’s September reveal has hit yet another snag and won’t make it to shelves in time for the holidays.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the reason for the delays stems from the complexity of the design. As the newspaper puts it:
In most other wireless headphones, only one earpiece receives a signal from the phone via wireless Bluetooth technology; it then transmits the signal to the other earpiece. Apple has said AirPod earpieces each receive independent signals from an iPhone, Mac or other Apple device. But Apple must ensure that both earpieces receive audio at the same time to avoid distortion, the person familiar with their development said. That person said Apple also must resolve what happens when a user loses one of the earpieces or the battery dies.
Other sources have instead attributed the delay to the difficulty of manufacturing the AirPods to scale — even if the earbuds had launched in time for the holiday season, only 10 to 15 million units were expected to be available. Nonetheless, you can expect to turn the page on 2016 before you get your hands on the product.
As Engadget points out, the delay marks the first time Apple has postponed a product since manufacturing issues caused the white iPhone 4 to miss its initial launch date back in 2010.