News

Airpods Aren't Available Because Apple Can't Figure Out How to Make Them Work

Published On 12/09/2016 Published On 12/09/2016
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For various reasons, the iPhone 7 managed to irritate Apple fans almost everywhere. Chief among all the grievances was the phone’s lack of a headphone jack, and the introduction of wireless AirPod headphones, which are poised to be annoyingly small and cost $160.

While the iPhone 7 hit the market in September, the AirPods’ release has been delayed, meaning the “wireless future” envisioned by Apple chief Tim Cook has yet to bear any fruit. For a while, the Cupertino company hadn’t explained why the AirPods were mysteriously absent from the marketplace, but according to a new report in the Wall St. Journal, the reason appears to be a technical glitch.

Apple is basically struggling to get wireless headphones to work properly, according to an unnamed source in the paper. It all boils down to bluetooth technology, and Apple’s ability to make sure each earpiece receives a bluetooth signal simultaneously. In most standard bluetooth headphones, a signal is received in one earpiece, and then transferred over to the other. Apple is trying to circumvent this process -- or basically reinvent the bluetooth wheel -- by having both earpieces receive the same single at the same time. The WSJ’s source noted this measure was imperative to “avoid distortion” when using the AirPods.  

The AirPods were initially expected to release in late October. Apple announced the company “needed a bit more time” to streamline the product shortly thereafter though, and it’s surely been a long for wait for the wireless earbuds, which have been hyped and criticized more than most things that are actually on the market.

There’s still no word on when the AirPods will be released. A projection in November predicted the headphones would ship in January, so Christmas is increasingly looking like a long shot. So with the holidays just around the corner, relish (or hate) the AirPods by watching their original unveiling below:

Update 12/13/16: Apple Airpods are now on sale, starting at $159, but delivery for pre-orders may take awhile. 

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster. 

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