The AirPods Max are joining the AirPods and AirPods Pro in Apple’s audio accessory lineup. As you can see on the photo, Apple is releasing its first over-ear headphones under the AirPods brand.
The wireless headphones feature active noise cancellation and cost $549. With this product, Apple competes directly with Sony’s and Bose’s wireless headphones — the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose 700. Pre-orders start today and they’ll ship on December 15.
This isn’t the company’s first over-ear headphones as Apple acquired Beats back in 2014. Apple has released new Beats headphones over the past few years. For instance, last year, Apple released the Beats Solo Pro, wireless headphones that feature Apple’s H1 chip and cost $300. They also have active noise cancellation.
The AirPods Max come in multiple colors — silver, space gray, sky blue, pink and green. They are foldable and can be stored in a case — or, as Apple calls it, a Smart Case. When you put your headphones in the case, the device enters an ultra-low power state — but that’s about it. Apple promises 20 hours of battery life.
Powered by Apple’s H1 chip with 10 audio cores, they bring many of the features that you can find in the AirPods Pro — active noise cancellation, transparency mode, spatial audio and adaptive EQ. The headband is made of stainless steel, which probably explains the pricing strategy. The top band is a flexible mesh. The ear cushions try to create a seal thanks to memory foam.
In addition to a noise control button, there’s an Apple Watch digital crown, which lets you adjust the volume, skip tracks, etc. Inside the device, you’ll find 40-mm dynamic drivers. Combined with computational audio and a dual neodymium ring magnet motor, Apple promises very little distorsion and high quality sound.
If you’re not familiar with Adaptive EQ, the feature was originally introduced with the AirPods Pro. The device uses microphones to adjust the sound based on the fit and seal of the headphones or earbuds.
When it comes to active noise cancellation, the AirPods Max use three outward-facing microphones on each ear cup. When you pair the AirPods Max with an iPhone or iPad, Apple uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in both devices to compare motion data and deliver sound in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos. Music also automatically stops when you remove the AirPods Max.