Apple’s Beats X earbuds, first announced at September’s iPhone event, are unlikely to ship until early next year according to an email from reseller B&H Photo. Apple originally aimed to ship the $149 earphones in “Fall 2016” (which is still the ETA listed on the Apple Store website), but B&H sent out an email claiming that Apple now estimates shipments “will take at least 2-3 months.” Apple declined comment when contacted by The Verge. B&H is a pretty trustworthy retailer as those things go — and an authorized Apple reseller — but Apple has yet to acknowledge any delay. If the B&H email is accurate, the adjusted timeframe for launch would be sometime in February or March.
The Beats X include Apple’s W1 chip for simple pairing with iOS devices and a “Fast Fuel” feature for quick recharging. Beats claims you get “2 hours of playback after just 5 minutes of charging and up to 8 hours after just 45 minutes of charging.” But aside from those two unique things, they’re pretty much your standard neckbuds that many other tech companies are churning out, so it’s not easy to determine what Apple could be having difficulties with. The W1 technology has already been integrated in two shipping Beats products: the Solo 3 headphones and the Powerbeats3 Wireless sport earphones.
This delay comes as Apple’s other new wireless earbuds, the AirPods, remain in limbo with no firm release date after the company missed its launch target on those, too. Ever since unveiling an iPhone with no headphone jack, Apple’s executives have pushed the message that the future of audio is wireless.
It’s now December. The iPhone 7 was released three months ago. Apple has since failed to ship two of those wireless products on time. On his most recent episode of The Talk Show, John Gruber surmised that Apple might not have removed the iPhone 7’s headphone jack if it could’ve foreseen these delays with the products introduced alongside it. I’ve held a prototype of Beats X, so they — like review units of the AirPods — definitely exist. But something is throwing a serious wrench into producing these things at mass scale.