Apple has just announced the long-rumored over-the-ear AirPods Max. Available for $549, it comes in five colors and introduces a physical volume control Digital Crown for the first time in an AirPods product.
AirPods Max inherits the Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency, Adaptive EQ, Auto-Switching, Audio Sharing, Hey Siri, H1 headphone chip, Spatial Audio with 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound support, and easy pairing from the existing AirPods and AirPods Pro devices.
New in AirPods Max is a 40 mm “Apple-designed dynamic driver” designed for rich sound. It also features an “acoustically-engineered memory foam” in the ear cushion to “create an effective seal for immersive sound” while balancing and equalizing “ear cup pressure”, offering similar functionality to the existing swappable silicone tips in the current AirPods Pro. The new ear cups are also pivotable to fit the user’s needs. Apple says that AirPods Max features “a unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor” in the new audio driver that allows the headset “to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.”
Apple states that it also features a “breathable knit mesh” on the new stainless steel headband frame and arms will ensure proper weight balance, the headphone’s structural rigidity, and a correct fit for every single user.
The brand-new Digital Crown, carrying a similar design to the original first-generation Apple Watch’s input device, now allows control of the volume, play/pause audio tracks, pick up or end phone calls, or to invoke Siri.
Apple says that AirPods Max now features up to 20 hours of battery life “with Active Noise Cancellation and Spatial Audio enabled”. The new headphones will also come with a new Smart Case that preserves the headset’s battery life by toggling an “ultralow power state”. It does not appear that this Smart Case offers charging functionality like the carrying cases of other AirPods models currently do.
AirPods Max are available for $549 starting December 15, in space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink colors, with preorders starting today. It is available for engraving on the Apple Online Store, and will require iOS/iPadOS 14.3, tvOS 14.3, watchOS 7.2, and/or macOS Big Sur 11.1.