‘Tis the season for reviews of annual sales numbers and profit scores, as well as forward-looking statements, predictions and, last but not least, Christmas shopping against the clock.

Apple has every reason to be optimistic about the future box-office performance of the iPhone X, mid and high-end iPads, as well as wireless AirPods, all of which should get upgrades at some point during 2018.

Yes, all of them, including the 2016-unveiled AirPods, which didn’t receive a sequel or any sort of a rehash this year. All they got was a wireless charging case, but even that unremarkable accessory… for a smartphone accessory needs to wait until next year to actually see commercial daylight.

Confusingly enough, the new case is expected out ahead of an improved second AirPods generation. Something tells us Apple will ultimately line up the two launches, most likely in the second half of 2018, when renowned KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo foresees the debut of revised, possibly smaller and costlier AirPods.

For the time being, we’re extremely sad to report the original “magical” earbuds are practically impossible to buy before 2017 ends. Online Apple Stores around the world, including stateside, offer early January delivery estimates at best, while most US retailers and carriers have the AirPods on backorder or sold out altogether.

It looks like Cupertino may have focused a little too much on solving the iPhone X production puzzle lately, going back in time as far as inventory woes are concerned for another hot-selling item.

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