As of Tuesday, Apple is promising a delivery date of Dec. 21 on the AirPods, though heavy demand for the earbuds might push that back. Apple will start selling the $159 AirPods in its retail stores next week.
Apple unveiled the AirPods at a press event in September alongside its new handset, the iPhone 7. The AirPods are the first wireless earbuds from the company, but they sport the familiar white design popularized in its earlier, wired earbuds. The AirPods are the first from Apple to support the company’s new W1 chip, using sensors and an accelerometer to detect when the AirPods are in a user’s ears. The W1 chip can detect whether one AirPod or two is inserted in a user’s ears and route audio accordingly.
According to Apple, the AirPods, which also come with a microphone for calls, can last up to five hours on a single charge.
The AirPods are Apple’s answer to the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. While Apple’s new handset ships with wired earbuds, they can only connect with an adapter through the smartphone’s Lightning port. The AirPods can wirelessly connect to the iPhone 7, eliminating the need for a headphone jack. AirPods can also wirelessly connect to other devices via Bluetooth.
At its press event in September, Apple said it would release the AirPods in late-October. However, Apple delayed the AirPods in October without providing an exact release date. Rumors subsequently surfaced over why the AirPods might have been delayed and when they would finally reach store shelves, but Apple didn’t comment on exact details.
Last week, a Wall Street Journal report surfaced, saying that the AirPods’ earpieces were having trouble receiving wireless signals and could be delayed past the holidays. Apple never confirmed that claim.