Don't expect to buy AirPods as a Christmas gift

They're sold out virtually everywhere until 2018.

Still scrambling to find an audio gift for the holidays? You'll probably need to rule out Apple's AirPods. Both MacRumors and 9to5Mac have discovered that the Siri-enabled earbuds are out of stock at most of Apple's online and retail stores around the world, major American store chains (like Best Buy and Walmart) and even carriers. AT&T might have supply, but there's a real chance you'll have to pay a premium and cross your fingers. You might not even get a pair as a post-holiday consolation prize -- Apple, at least, doesn't expect to ship new AirPod orders until 2018.

Of course, there are other and sometimes better options out there. Apple's newer Beats earphones (such as the BeatsX) use the same wireless chip with more conventional designs, while Jaybird's Run buds give you completely wireless audio in a workout-friendly design that's also less Apple-centric. You're not stuck if your lucky recipient just wants Bluetooth audio.

Nonetheless, the lack of stock is bound to create headaches. In some ways, it's a repeat of what you saw last year: Apple just didn't have enough supply to go around. This time, however, it's more likely due to demand than technical hurdles. That not only suggests that Apple may have a bona fide hit on its hands, it hints that all-wireless earbuds are here to stay -- and that's good news even if you'd rather pick up Samsung's IconX or one of the growing number of alternatives.