One of the best things about Apple’s retail strategy is that when it comes to inventory, they don’t ignore their brick-and-mortar stores like some other retailers do. So while the initial inventory of a product like AirPods may sell out online within minutes of going up on Apple’s site, you can typically count on Apple’s retail stores to carry stock on launch day.
This was the case with AirPods – most Apple stores in the U.S had them yesterday – but they quickly sold out. So the issue is figuring out which stores have them in stock, especially since you can’t call Apple stores directly anymore.
Enter iStockNow.com. The site gives you live inventory updates for all major Apple products at every Apple Store around the world. While this information is available on Apple’s website, there’s no way to see it on a map view or check multiple stores at once – hence the helpfulness of iStockNow.
The website has been around for a while, but is becoming useful again because of how hard it is to find AirPods. The site also shows stock of iPhones, MacBooks, Apple Watches – and the DJI Mavic, which joins AirPods as being the hardest gadget to find this holiday season.
For things like iPhones and MacBooks you can filter by storage size, color, etc – which is also helpful when trying to find the exact device you want at a local store.
The website refreshes whenever Apple’s inventory on their website updates, which seems to be each night sometime after midnight PT.
While the website currently shows that no stores in the U.S have AirPods, keep checking frequently and you may see a local store turn green. If they do, you can order them on Apple’s website for in-store pickup.
Oh, and the site also says they are working on free notifications, which would presumably let you select your local store and get an email when the item you are looking for is in stock.