Back in October, Apple's wireless solution to the "no headphone jack" for the iPhone 7 has been indefinitely pushed back. Much to the chagrin of Apple faithfuls who were highly anticipating the product, there was no real official reason given for the delay.
Our best guess for the delay back then were final hardware and software compatibility bugs that Apple engineers had to work out before they can start selling the final mass-release product.
And now, finally, the bugs may have been squashed. Today, the Apple AirPods are now available for purchase. Just in time for Christmas, perhaps...
What are AirPods?
The Airpods are wireless, rechargeable, small earpieces and they resemble something out of Kubrick's "2001: Space Odyssey" (or broken Q-tips, depending on your perspective).
They have the typical Apple voodoo-like voice and motion accelerometers plus optical sensors that will sense when you ceremoniously put them in your ear. These magical sensors will also know when you stop talking - the AirPods' mics will beamform and focus on your voice to filter out extraneous noise while double-tapping on either piece will allow for a direct line to Siri.
They will also come in this fancy charging case, which can juice them up with five hours of audio time on a single charge. The jury is still out on their supposed "superior sound," but judging by early reviews, they sound more or less like Apple's own garden-variety wired EarPods.
Oh, and better hold on to those little AirPods real tight because they will cost true-believers a hefty $159. (Fortunately, dropping and losing a piece on a sidewalk somewhere will not be a complete loss. Apple announced that it will sell single AirPod replacements).
Why the delay?
The reason for the AirPods' delay was not specified but all we know is that Apple needed time to work out some kinks before making them available to the public.
"We don't believe in shipping a product before it's ready," Apple said in an official statement in October, "We need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers."
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, unlike most wireless Bluetooth headphones that receive signals on one earpiece then transmit them to the other, the AirPods' receive independent signals for each earpiece, which creates engineering challenges for Apple.
Due to this novel approach for wireless headphones, some of the engineering kinks Apple has to work out before the final release include the syncing of the paired AirPods' audio, the effectiveness of its noise cancellation and the continued operation of the earpieces if one is lost or its battery is drained.
Best place to find the Apple AirPods
The $159 AirPods are now available to order online from the Apple website but estimated shipping dates are currently pushed out to four weeks.
They are also expected to arrive at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, select carriers and authorized Apple retail outlets on December 21.
The AirPods will be available in more than 100 countries including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, UAE, and the Netherlands.
Apple warns that "AirPods will be shipping in limited quantities at launch and customers are encouraged to check online for updates on availability and estimated delivery dates."
Obviously, if you want your AirPods for Christmas, the only way to get them on time is through the physical retail stores next week since online orders placed now will not probably arrive until January.
Needless to say, if you want to get the AirPods soon enough, you will have to act fast.
What do you think? Now that they are finally available, are you getting the Apple AirPods?