Apple AirPods Delay Reportedly Blamed On Bluetooth Audio Syncing Issues

Apple’s wireless AirPods were initially announced with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September, and were originally said to ship in October. Apple, however, missed that launch window saying that it needed a “little more time” to get them ready for customers. Fast forward to late November, and Apple CEO Tim Cook told an anxious iPhone 7 customer, “I anticipate we will begin to ship over the next few weeks."

While we’re still waiting for the AirPods to ship, some insider information is shedding light on what exactly is causing the delay. In this case, Apple is bucking the trend where a wireless audio signal is transmitted via Bluetooth to one earpiece, which is then relayed to the second earpiece.

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“Apple has said AirPod earpieces each receive independent signals from an iPhone, Mac or other Apple device,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “But Apple must ensure that both earpieces receive audio at the same time to avoid distortion, the person familiar with their development said.”

Without these two simultaneous audio streams beaming to the AirPods, there’s the potential for crackling audio and syncing issues that could mar the listening experience. There’s also the tricky issue of how to deal with the scenario for a user that [inevitably] loses one of the wireless AirPods (as Conan O’Brien humorously parodied below).

At this point, there are just two weeks left in the holiday shopping season, which is giving antsy customers little hope for a Festivus miracle. And even if the AirPods do end up shipping in the next two weeks, the limited supply could lead to Nintendo NES Classic Edition-esque markups on the $159 accessory.