Constrained Inventory Leaves AirPods Buyers Empty Handed

Line outside University Park Village Apple Store in Fort Worth, Texas, for AirPods

Hopeful shoppers lined up early Monday morning in a mostly fruitless effort to buy Apple’s AirPods today instead of waiting until January for online orders to ship. AirPods are backordered six weeks, but the company said the wireless earpods would be available in its retail stores on Monday, December 19th.

Line outside University Park Village Apple Store in Fort Worth, Texas, for AirPods
Shoppers line up outside Apple’s University Park Village store in Fort Worth for AirPods
Image courtesy Terry Austin

Lines outside Apple Stores firmed early with people waiting hours for what turned out to be very limited inventory. At Apple’s Fort Worth, Texas, University Park Village store TMO reader Terry Austin was number 12 in line, but missed out on getting his AirPods today.

He said store staff told everyone they received a “handful,” which turned out to be enough sell to the first nine customers.

Apple announced AirPods at its iPhone 7 launch event in September. The Bluetooth earpods both connect wirelessly to your iPhone, and once paired automatically work with other devices linked to your iCloud account.

AirPods were originally scheduled to ship in October, but that came and went, leaving potential buyers wondering when they’d finally be in stores. Apple finally started pre-orders last week with a December 21st delivery date. That slipped out to a four week backorder in less than an hour, and quickly turned into a six week delay.

Online orders are still sitting at six weeks, and this morning’s in-store launch confirms inventory is very constrained. Apple’s AirPods launch is shaping up to be very much like the Apple Pencil release: limited in-store availability with extended shipping delays.

If you’re hoping to buy Apple’s AirPods this week, showing up before the store opens will be you best bet, although that doesn’t guarantee any will be available. Also ask if there are any afternoon deliveries scheduled and be there when they are just in case more AirPods show up.

AirPods are priced at US$159, and the six week online backorder coupled with severely limited in-store availability means there’s a good chance you won’t be buying a pair before the Christmas holiday.

3 thoughts on “Constrained Inventory Leaves AirPods Buyers Empty Handed

  • Not sure this is a fail. I got them. Multiplied thousands got them across the world. Some stores even received mid-day shipments of the . It seems like supplies are maybe somewhat more constrained than iPhone launches, but I’ve been turned away empty handed on an iphone launch so… im glad Apple launched them now instead of later. Just like they shouldn’t have held back the jet black iPhone or the iPhone 7 plus just because supplies were so constrained that most people couldn’t get them.

  • Yeah, epic fail. I was about 25th in line in Raleigh, NC. In less than 10 minutes they were all gone and the rep was telling everyone in line “you’re not getting one.” The store got about a dozen or less.

  • I am not even trying. I went weeks and weeks of daily visits to the Apple store across the street from my office trying to get a pencil; never again. To me it really just puts a damper on even wanting them at all. As pointed out in your recent podcast, they should have shipped in quantity or been available along side the iPhone 7 launch. Pickup new phone and get your really nice wireless headphones at the same time. When I picked up my iPhone 7 at AT&T store (I have business account and Apple Store can’t help me) I also bought LG Tone Ultra wireless headphones.

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