In a bold move Avalon ASIC have put a countdown clock on the front page of their website ticking down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until they ship.
Using a bit of simple maths and a calendar that works out to be Monday the 21st of January 2013.
The most recent official announcement from Avalon's competitors Butterfly Labs was on the 10th of December stateing that they are hoping for delivery of their ASIC chips from the manufacturing plant in China in 30 days (approximately the 9th of January 2013). Once received Butterfly Labs must then go through a testing & assembly process adding still more days to their actual shipping date.
The 3rd ASIC company in the race, BTCFPGA with their bASIC line of bitcoin mining devices have not updated their website in a while and it still states that they will ship in December 2012 (Still possible but highly unlikely). The second batch of bASIC devices from BTCFPGA is scheduled for shipping in January 2013, that may prove to be a more realistic target.
So, if websites are to be believed it seems that all 3 ASIC bitcoin mining device companies may be shipping within a few days of each other.
The rumour mill in the bitcoin community is writhe with accusations of scams, lies and misinformation. It seems to be anyone's guess when or even if any ASIC will find their way to the desk of a bitcoin miner.
That leaves the greatest potential for early ASIC profit to be over at Bets of Bitcoin.
Important Update:No sooner that I released this article ASICMiner seems to have actual chips!