It is now officially too late to secure a pair of AirPods before the end of the holiday season via the Apple online store, MacRumors reported, with orders originating in the “United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and several other countries” now showing delivery dates in January.
Even before launching in December 2016, Apple had production troubles with AirPods that delayed the first official sales by months while they worked out quality issues. They were pretty divisive at first, because while the AirPods are a solid if not perfect set of wireless buds, the standard legacy headphone jack disappeared starting with the iPhone 7—something which seemed somewhat like an attempt to push the £160 accessories on Apple customers who would rather continue using their cheap, wired headphones. (It’s possible to continue using non-wireless headphones with a Lightning port adaptor, but that still requires shelling out a few extra quid.)
Since then, there’s been periodic supply shortages of the AirPods every few months, though it seems more likely that this particular shortage is related to a surge in holiday sales. Analysts have long speculated that one of the many marketing tricks in Apple’s playbook is artificial scarcity, though others have pointed out that tends to anger consumers and other issues like difficult demand forecasting might be a better prediction. In any case, with just about a week to go before Christmas, if you were leaving it this late to pick some up it's your own fault rather than yet another one of Apple’s series of mistakes in 2017. [MacRumors]