Delivery estimates for the AirPods Max are well into January for most colors, which means there’s no chance for orders placed now to arrive in time for the December holidays, but as it turns out, you can get AirPods Max quicker if you choose an engraving.
In the pink color, for example, AirPods Max with an engraving can be delivered between December 30 and January 7, while without an engraving, the shipment estimate is 12 to 14 weeks. The green version will deliver between January 21 and 28 with an engraving instead of the 12 to 14 week estimate, and in blue, adding an engraving cuts the wait by a month.
Silver and space gray AirPods Max are still delivering at the end of December, so adding an engraving only cuts a couple of days off of the shipping time. Engravings can include anything from a single emoji to up to 14 characters.
It’s not entirely clear why AirPods Max headphones with engravings are shipping out faster, but it seems that Apple has separate stock set aside for people who choose the headphones with an engraving and without, which explains the shorter shipping times.
It’s also possible that Apple will soon have in-store AirPods Max stock, with pickup options that will be available more quickly than waiting for a shipment. AirPods Max are priced starting at $549 and the first deliveries will start on December 15.
Note that there seems to be some confusion over whether Apple products with engravings can be returned to Apple. Apple may not have allowed these returns in the past, but there is no language in Apple’s return policy about engravings and Apple’s support staff has confirmed that engraved items can be returned.