About two weeks ago, Apple said that the company’s new AirPods weren’t going to hit store shelves as early as anticipated. Without getting into too much detail, Apple issued a prepared statement indicating that the company needed a “a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers.”
Recently, an optimistic, albeit sketchy, rumor hinted that Apple might begin shipping AirPods to retail outlets as early as late next week. Unfortunately, the rumor now appears to be off-the-mark in light of a new research report which claims that AirPods production might not even begin until December. And as if that weren’t frustrating enough, the initial production run is said to be for just limited quantities.
Citing sources close to Apple’s supply chain, analysts from Barclays Research write that AirPods won’t even hit the production line for at least another three to four weeks at best. What remains unclear, though, is when in December Apple is hoping to begin production. Apple would ideally like to have AirPods packaged and ready for purchase in time for the holiday shopping season, but that’s starting to look less and less likely with each passing week. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if AirPods don’t start shipping until early January of 2017.
Barclays said the initial production run will be “fairly small,” totaling between 10 million and 15 million AirPods to start. Depending on demand, the limited supply could result in a scenario where AirPods stock is quickly depleted upon launch, resulting in extended shipping estimates akin to a new iPhone launch.
All in all, this isn’t a good look for Apple. While it’s one thing to give users a sneak peek at an upcoming product, promising a launch in October only to delay said launch for as much as two to three months is something that Apple observers used to mock other tech companies for.