Apple debuts $549 AirPods Max over-ear headphones

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited December 2020
After a long period of speculation, Apple has released the $549 AirPods Max, fully leveraging Apple's H1 chip for high-performance audio reproduction.




Apple's new AirPods Max feature 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic drivers for a wide-range of high-performance audio reproduction. The company claims that a dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.






The AirPods Max use Apple's H1 chip, with one in each ear cup, a custom acoustic design, and advanced software. Apple's computational audio is processed on 10 audio cores per ear, with Apple saying that it is capable of 9 billion operations per second. The H1 chip provides Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio for the headset.

Apple AirPods Max internals
Apple AirPods Max internals


Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, with one microphone inside the ear cup monitoring the sound reaching the listener's ear. Using computational audio provided by the pair of H1 chips, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.

Like the AirPods Pro, Apple is implementing Transparency Mode and Spatial Audio in the new AirPods Max. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a user's head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as the user's head moves.

The same sensors are paired with optical sensors to automatically detect when the AirPods Max are on a user's head. Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when the user simply lifts one ear cup.

Beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user's voice are implemented for Siri and voice calls to enhance clarity.

The breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, resembles the mesh on the HomePod series of products. Apple says that it is made to "distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure" to allow for long-term and comfortable use of the headset.

The AirPods Pro Max are available in space gray, sky blue, pink, green, and silver
The AirPods Pro Max are available in space gray, sky blue, pink, green, and silver


A stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes. Telescoping headband arms extend and stay in place and maintain the desired fit, without readjustment between sessions.

Each ear cup attaches to the headband through an Apple-designed mechanism made to balance and distribute ear cup pressure. The new design allows the AirPods Max to independently pivot and rotate to fit the unique contours of a user's head.

Each ear cushion uses "acoustically engineered memory foam" to seal the headset to the user's head for passive sound isolation. A Digital Crown, that Apple says is inspired by the one on the Apple Watch, offers volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri.

Apple claims up to 20 hours of battery life for audio playback, talk-time, with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. Charging is performed with a provided USB-C to Lightning cable.

A storage case comes with the unit. When the headphones are stored in the case, the AirPods Max are put in an ultra-low power state to preserve battery charge.

Apple's AirPods Max in included Smart Case
Apple's AirPods Max in included Smart Case


AirPods Max come in five colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink, and are available to order starting Tuesday, for $549. Availability begins Tuesday, December 15. Engraving options are available.

«13456713

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 250
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 765member
    Wowzers! At $549 a pop that sure is a maximum price! They sound impressive though. Now are they going to increase the bitrate on Apple Music?
    mobirddewmerazorpitkkqd1337Alex1Ndysamoriawatto_cobradavgreg
  • Reply 2 of 250
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?
    edited December 2020 lkruppwilliamlondonphilboogieajgaspard
  • Reply 3 of 250
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,288member
    Oof, that's one hell of a pricetag.
    chemengin1kkqd1337svanstrommontrosemacsAlex1Ntyler82dysamoriadavgreg
  • Reply 4 of 250
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,314member
    Yeah, good luck with that. I can buy a pair of Bowers & Wilkins PX7’s for £289 right now, they were down as low as £220 in October (an absolute steal at that price), no way would I pay twice that for these.
    edited December 2020 lkruppwilliamlondonchemengin1kkqd1337NotoriousDEVdysamoriadavgreg
  • Reply 5 of 250
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 765member
    Mo mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?
    "Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear." 

    "With AirPods Max, voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice."

    A lot more information on Apple's PR website - https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/12/apple-introduces-airpods-max-the-magic-of-airpods-in-a-stunning-over-ear-design/
    edited December 2020 omar moralesmuthuk_vanalingamrandominternetpersonpmhpatchythepirateronnphilboogieBeatsAlex1Nchristophb
  • Reply 6 of 250
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,288member
    The Smart Case looks... unusual.
    dewmerazorpitMplsPAlex1Ntyler82
  • Reply 7 of 250
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    JinTech said:
    Mo mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?
    "Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear." 

    "With AirPods Max, voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice."

    A lot more information on Apple's PR website - https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/12/apple-introduces-airpods-max-the-magic-of-airpods-in-a-stunning-over-ear-design/
    Ahh, that's helpful. Thanks.

    Siri capabilities include the ability to play music, make phone calls,


    edited December 2020 JinTechdrdaviddysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 250
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    I can't purchase them because the CONTINUE button on the purchase screen is greyed out. But I just noticed that the limit of HomePod Minis has gone up from 2 to 10+, so I'd like to order 4 of them and an AirPod Studio if the site lets me purchase one.
    edited December 2020 AlexMorelloBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 250
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,288member
    I can't purchase them because the CONTINUE button on the purchase screen is greyed out.
    Select a colour and whether you want engraving or not.
    AlexMorellowatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 250
    From Apple's website - "Charges with a Lightning connector"... 🤦‍♂️
    pmhAlex1Ndysamoriadavgreg
  • Reply 11 of 250
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?
    It literally says it has multiple mics for phone calls on the product page.
    williamlondonomar moralespmhronnStrangeDaysBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 250
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    crowley said:
    I can't purchase them because the CONTINUE button on the purchase screen is greyed out.
    Select a colour and whether you want engraving or not.
    Oh. I did select a colour but I didn't know I had to click on anything else. Thanks. I wonder how many other people are going to fail to purchase them because of this "feature" of the website.
    edited December 2020 BeatsAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 250
    fred1fred1 Posts: 808member
    Yikes, what a price. They may have all the features of the AirPods Pro, and may do those even better, but they’re missing one of my favorite features of the APPs - the size! Oh, and the price. 
    chemengin1Alex1Nwatto_cobradavgreg
  • Reply 14 of 250
    Oh wow. Gorgeous. 

    I wish I didn’t have multiple headphones and AirPods already... :-/
    edited December 2020 ronnBeatsAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 250
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,586member
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?
    Dude, please try reading the article. It has multiple mics.  And I'm pretty sure people can figure out what L and R mean.  🙄
    williamlondonomar moralesequality72521GabykudupmhAlexMorelloronnStrangeDaysspock1234
  • Reply 16 of 250
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,411member
    sdw2001 said:
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?
    Dude, please try reading the article. It has multiple mics.  And I'm pretty sure people can figure out what L and R mean.  🙄
    Dude, it's illegal to sell products in some countries that are English Only, regardless of whether they can figure it out.
    williamlondonAlex1Ndysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 250
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?
    Yes there is, and I am sure people who don’t know the English alphabet will recognize the shapes ‘L’ and ‘R’.
    aderutterpmhAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 250
    I'll stick to my Sony, 1/2 the price at $280 shipped. Will be interesting to see if the review justify the price.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 250
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,682member
    No mic? I can't use it to talk with my iPhone? The fact that it has active noise cancellation proves it has some sort of mic in it, but not one I can speak into?

    It's labelled with L and R for the Left and Right sides. How are they going to market that in countries where English isn't known or spoken widely?

    What on earth are you talking about?! Did you even go to the Apple site to check it out? Of course it has a mic and lets you use for phone calls.
    Complaining about L-R markings?! You mean like EVERY other headphone has had since there has been stereo? How else would you have them indicate? Do tell.
    sphericomar moralesmuthuk_vanalingamrandominternetpersonpmhAlexMorelloronnStrangeDaysflydogAlex1N
  • Reply 20 of 250
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,629member
    They look great and I'm sure the sound is spectacular. Two thoughts:
    First, at last now I can consider something with the AirPod moniker. I prefer over the ear headphones, as in the ear buds get uncomfortable in a short while and the weird shaped AirPods are actually painful. So at least they have an option now. (Yes there are Beats but that's not the point.)
    Secondly, unfortunately they are way out of my price range. Not necessarily overpriced, just for me. So I won't be getting a pair for the foreseeable future. But maybe someone will have them marked down. A pair might show up on the Refurbished page at the Apple Store at some point. Then who knows. 
    For the moment though I have a pair of Plantronics headphones that work very well for me. I'll keep using them until something changes.
    edited December 2020 ronnAlex1Nwatto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.