Along with the removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 this year, Apple introduced a new way for people on-the-go to enjoy their music. Dubbed the “AirPods”, Apple’s wireless in-ear headphones somewhat revolutionary—if also not a bit silly, given how likely the expensive accessories were to be misplaced.
Nonetheless, Apple’s AirPods were destined to top many a holiday wish list this year. Until, that is, the product was mysteriously delayed….indefinitely.
Now, two months after the intended first release (and with no new availability date in sight), we are learning more about the cause of the Apple AirPods delay. According to an article this week on the WSJ, citing those familiar with the issue, Apple is having issues with how the AirPods receive the Bluetooth signal from the originating device; specifically, ensuring that each AirPod is getting the same signal at the same exact time.
Typically with wireless headphones, one ear will receive the Bluetooth signal and then send it over to the other side. This, per Digital Trends, results in “varying degrees of success”. In the case of Apple’s AirPods, however, each wireless earbud is receiving the same Bluetooth signal separately—which has advantages over the aforementioned method, including a seamless experience.
Unfortunately for those hoping to unwrap AirPods this Chrismakkuh, it’s also leading to unforeseen issues for Apple.
It’s worth noting that two other Apple-produced wireless headsets with the new W1 chip—which powers the AirPods as well—shipped this year with no issues. However, neither of these communicates with the originating source like the AirPods do, which is seemingly the core issue causing the product’s delay.
The Apple AirPods delay could be seen as a misstep for a company known for regularly meeting product release deadlines; however, with the high price tag ($160) on an item that normally comes free with a new phone, future AirPods owners would probably rather Apple get the kinks worked out before they run out and buy a pair.