Apple delays AirPods as they are not ready for market

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Apple has delayed the release of its AirPods, claiming it needs "a little more time" to refine the wireless headphones that were designed for its latest generation of iPhones.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have been on sale for more than a month, but the AirPods, originally expected this month, have been pushed back with no launch date in sight.

One of the most notable features of Apple's latest generation of smartphones was the removal of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack.

In its place was a proprietary Lightning connection jack, meaning consumers had to connect headphones by using an adaptor, or use a wireless headset.

Apple's AirPods wirelessly connect to the iPhones through a low-power W1 chip and also featured optical sensors and accelerometers.

At the time, Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing outlined the rationale behind the move. He said: "It really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us."

Explaining the delay last night, an Apple spokesperson said: "The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers." There was no indication when this release date would be.

The delay comes as Apple announced its first annual decline in sales and profits since 2001. Revenues were down eight percent to $215.6 billion, with profits down 14 percent to $45.7 billion.