Apple's fancy new headphones for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the gifts that keeps on delaying. Neither the AirPods nor the BeatsX headphones have made it to market in time for the heaviest shopping window of the holiday season -- yet. A new rumor suggests that the wireless AirPods could make it before the end of the year, but in very limited quantities. And the BeatsX earphones? They might not see daylight until March.
This is a rough spot for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus owners who have been waiting for the two wireless headphones. Since Apple removed the headphone jack, buyers have had the choice to either connect a set of wired headphones with an adapter dongle, or use a pair of Bluetooth headphones to connect. Despite its controversial shape (that some find akin to toothbrush heads), the appeal of AirPods is an auto-pairing feature that uses Apple's W1 chip to automatically pair the earpieces with the phone. The BeatsX headset also uses the same chip.
The AirPods were previously expected for October.
So why the delay? Apple may still be working on problems like the battery dying or how to deal if one of the pods gets lost, according to The Wall Street Journal. Another theory, which is advanced by Apple blogger John Gruber, is that the company faces a manufacturing slowdown instead of a technological hurdle. Gruber claims that the distributed prototype units function decently, but the real problem is scaling to sell to the public. However, not long after the blog post went up, Gruber appeared on a podcast with the suggestion that the AirPods may make a last minute appearance "in the next few days."
On the BeatsX side, authorized Apple retailer B&H Photo Video recently emailed customers saying that the BeatsX shipments wont go out for "at least two to three months." Even though the Apple website listing still has them slated for release this fall, its possible we won't see them until next spring.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.
Other headphones with Apple's W1 chip, like the Powerbeats3 and the Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones, are already on sale. If you're dying to get your hands on Apple-branded wireless headphones for the holidays, those two may be your best bet. Otherwise, CNET has some great recommendations for our favorite Bluetooth headphones for the iPhone 7.