It's almost Black Friday, and Apple's AirPods are still nowhere to be found

Apple wireless AirPods are tested during a media event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California on September 07, 2016.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

With one of the biggest shopping days of the year ahead, Apple's AirPods ship date is still listed as "currently unavailable" and "coming soon" online.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the ship date of its new earbuds. But a Barclays analyst said the $159 AirPods may start production next month, after Apple said they weren't ready to ship in October.

Production of the wireless earbuds should start in December but will be at the "fairly small" level of 10 million to 15 million to start, Barclays semiconductor analyst Blayne Curtis wrote in a research note. The AirPods had been slated to hit the market in late October, but Apple said they weren't ready to be shipped at that time.

Apple has announced plans for a special shopping event on Black Friday — a key shopping holiday — but hasn't announced any specific discounts on products.

The holiday quarter will be key for the iPhone maker, which released the headphone jackless iPhone 7 amid reporting several quarters of year-over-year sales declines. Though reviewers have called the wireless earbuds "odd," Apple said the early response has been "incredible."

Curtis wrote about the AirPods after traveling in Asia to meet with mobile manufacturers earlier this month.

During the trip, Curtis said the iPhone 8 design "didn't sound 100 percent locked down," but at least the Plus model appeared to have bezel-less screens that curve around the edges, like those used by Samsung. Apple may also launch new iPads in March, including a refresh of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a unveiling new 10.9-inch that also has a screen with curved edges, Curtis predicted.