Apple AirPods release date to miss Christmas - but why?

Delays in the final release of Apple's AirPods for iPhone 7 will push them past this year's holiday season. Several reasons why have popped up in the past couple of weeks, including today's insider insight from the Wall Street Journal. Their source is familiar with the development of the AirPods and says that Apple continues to work on perfecting the technology required to push these wireless earbuds past competing devices.

This anonymous source suggests that Apple's technology – each ear unit receiving signal data at the same time – is part of the reason why a delay exists. Apple must be able to explain or solve the problem of losing a single earbud. What happens then? Does the company provide the ability to purchase a single earbud to replace the lost unit?

Apple's AirPods also work with microphone technology that enables the user to access voice commands on the iPhone. Because of this, these units must have superior noise cancellation technology. They need to be able to discern the voice of the wearer apart from the noise of the surrounding environment.

The key in all this is Apple's dedication to providing a product that just works. Magic only appears magic when there's no instructions manual required to make it work. Apple's marketing emphasizes simplicity before all other things.

It was all the way back in September of this year that we first got our hands on Apple's AirPods. Back then, our own Chris Davies said, "Pairing Bluetooth headphones can be a nightmare, and it's where Apple's legendary push for simplification is most obvious."

"Press the button on the back of the AirPods' charging case and it's in pairing mode; hold it near to your phone and a dialog pops up," said Davies. "Hit the button on-screen and the connection is established; you even see the battery status of both case and each individual earbud."

Easy enough, if the AirPods have continued to be so extremely easy to use. But should problems, issues, annoyances have arrived between then and now, Apple would sooner delay the product than release a product that has a chance at a very public bad reception.

Expect the AirPods to be released in early 2017. Or, if Apple can't seem to get them to the quality they need, expect delays until the end of time. (That's not an official statement, by the way, just a comment on the way Apple works.)