WSJ: AirPods delay is negatively impacting Apple's name and is hurting holiday revenue
Back in October, Apple announced that its wireless Bluetooth ear buds, called AirPods, was being delayed. No reason was given for the change in the product's launch date except for a statement from Apple that said that more time was needed to bring the device to market. Many hoped that the device would still be ready in time for the holiday shopping season, but it is now a week and a half into December without any word from Apple about a launch date for the AirPods.
Last month, banking firm Barclays said that Apple was ready to start production of the AirPods this month, although production would be limited to 10 million to 15 million units. Considering that the original reason for the birth of the AirPods was the elimination of the 3.5-inch earphone jack on the Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus, it would appear that Apple is somehow being hamstrung in producing the AirPods; after all, if Barclays' figure is accurate, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus production will outnumber the fancy new accessory by a 5 to 1 margin at best.
The AirPods delay has struck a blow to Apple's good name and has infuriated those who were planning on using them in lieu of the Lightning enabled earphones that come out of the box on the new iPhone models. As for the cause, one theory is that there is an issue preventing thie left and right earpieces from independently receiving the sounds that go through the AirPods. Normal wired earphones share sound signals, but the wireless design of the new device prevents this from happening. Another possible issue deals with the microphone on the product, which has to capture the sound of the user's voice while keeping background noise from going through the microphone's circuitry.
One independent analyst believes that after Apple allowed some critics to test them, the failure of the product to launch indicates that there is a major problem that has to be fixed. Neil Cybart is the analyst, and he thinks that Apple found a problem in maintaining connectivity between the AirPods and Apple's own devices. He says that if Apple releases the product before it is ready, it risks getting lambasted by consumers and the tech media. But he says that no one will blame Apple if it delays the launch in an attempt to get the device running perfectly before it is released. Cybart says Apple should release the AirPods in 2017 instead of running into shortages before the holiday shopping season concludes.