Since Apple’s wireless AirPods earbud hit the shelves in limited supply back in December of 2016, a hot topic around the Apple community has been “‘AirPods availability”. Where are they available, and how many are on the shelves, and what’s the shortest way to receive them?
Apple’s AirPods are a premium wireless headphone solution, which boasts Bluetooth connectivity powered by Apple’s own in-house W1 chip. The earbuds are completely wireless, with no cords connecting them to the device, or to each other. Connecting the earbuds to your iPhone is easy, simply take them out of their charging case, and hold them near an iPhone.
Apple device users are anxious to see the much-coveted Bluetooth earbuds first hand, to see how they feel and sound. While some consider the $159 wireless earbuds to be overpriced, those who have tried them out say they are like no other earphones they’ve ever tried, wireless or corded. (Our own Ian Fuchs says they are “magic.”)
AirPods reviews around the web have ranged from outright glee, to “meh they’re OK,” to “they won’t stay in my ears.” However, the consensus seems to be that Apple has a hit on their hands if they can just make enough AirPods to meet demand. And there lies the rub.
Apple has struggled to keep AirPods on the shelves. Availability has been spotty at best, which has customers calling Apple retail stores, checking availability online, and scouring third-party retailers, all to find the elusive pair of wireless earbuds.
Luckily, the web has come to the rescue of frantic AirPods fans, offering up ways to check the availability of the wireless preciouses, without requiring a trip to a local Apple retail store or a third-party seller.
Tools to Check AirPods Availability Online
There are two online tools available that most users check periodically to determine local availability of AirPods. Apple’s own pickup availability tool in the Apple Online Store, and the iStockNow Search Tool.
1) Apple’s Online Retail Store
Apple’s online store offers customers the ability to order Apple products and accessories, and have them either delivered direct to their doorstep or pick them up at the nearest Apple retail store location. While AirPods shipping estimates are listed as six weeks from the order date, bricks and mortar retail store stock is hit-and-miss when it comes to AirPods availability.
Fortunately, it is easy to check AirPods availability at your local Apple Store locations. Simply click the “Check Availability” link on the Apple product page, and enter either a zip code or a city name and click the “Search” button. The website will list all nearby store locations, along with availability. Again, this is hit-or-miss, but a number of customers have struck gold using this method.
2) iStockNow Online Search Tool
iStockNow, the popular online destination for those who want to quickly check local Apple Store availability for such popular Apple devices as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, also offers an AirPods availability map on their website.
Visitors to the site are presented with a map of the United States and Canada, with each Apple Retail Store location represented as a marker. The marker’s color is green if the store has the precious earbuds in stock, and is shown in red if the store has none on their shelves.
Users can search a particular city or state by entering the name of the locality in the iStockNow search field. They can also zoom in and out on the map to view a larger version of a particular area.
In addition to a live search, a recent activity listing is also available showing recent stock information for Apple Stores and select third-party retailers. By supplying their email address, users can also create a list of stores that they’d like to be notified about when AirPods become available at those locations. A convenient tutorial is available at the iStockNow website that walks users through the procedure.
AirPods Availability Trend
The wait time for delivery of AirPods has been a steady 6-week timeframe almost immediately following the release of the wireless earbuds. This estimate has remained unchanged since the wireless earbuds were released in December, and that currently show no signs of changing. Regardless whether you’re picking them up or choose to have them shipped directly from Apple, it’s the same 6 weeks.