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New orders of Apple’s AirPods Max won’t arrive for Christmas

Apple AirPods Max
Apple AirPods Max (Apple)

For customers in several other countries, including China, Canada, Japan and Germany, Apple is quoting shipping times for many colors into January and February for AirPods Max headphones.

Apple’s Inc.’s new $550 AirPods Max headphones won’t arrive in time for the holiday season for many customers placing new orders with the company online.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant quoted wait times of 12 to 14 weeks for all five color options, based on a review of Apple’s U.S. website on Tuesday afternoon. This represents some of the longest shipping delays for a new Apple product in recent history.

For customers in several other countries, including China, Canada, Japan and Germany, Apple is quoting shipping times for many colors into January and February. Australia and France still have some models scheduled to deliver by the end of this year. For customers in the U.K., Apple is quoting up to a 14 week delay for the blue version and three weeks for other colors.

Opting for a free engraving appears to reduce the delivery wait significantly in the U.S., taking it down to 2-3 weeks for some colors, according to Apple’s website. In Japan, earliest deliveries go from Feb. 6 to Dec. 26 with the customization option selected.

By putting the accessory on sale in December, Apple was aiming to lure holiday shoppers, but the shipping delays may upset that strategy. Apple had planned to launch the headphones earlier this fall, but faced problems as some testers deemed the headband too tight, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.

When the headphones went on sale Tuesday morning, initial orders for all colors were available for delivery as early as Dec. 15. But the shipping delays quickly ramped up in the afternoon.

That spurred resellers on eBay to demand big premiums, with several listings asking $849 or more for delivery before Christmas. One seller priced a silver AirPods Max pair at $1,199, saying it was “Guaranteed B4 Christmas.”

Many Apple retail stores remain open and it’s unclear if availability in physical locations or third-party retailers will be better when the first deliveries begin next week.

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