Apple Releases AirPods Max, Its First Over-Ear Headphones
Apple recently announced and quickly released its first over-ear headphones ever. The new AirPods Max come with a lot of great features, but they also cost more than most headphones on the market. Here’s everything you need to know about the AirPods Max, including how to order them, the price, and when you can expect to get them.
AirPods Max Features
The AirPods Max have a lot of the same features as the AirPods Pro, including active noise cancellation and a transparency mode. However, the AirPods Max have comfortable fabric ear cups, controls that let you change the volume, and a much longer battery life.
Apple prioritized comfort when designing the AirPods Max. The headband is made of a breathable mesh canopy that alleviates pressure on your head. Each ear cup is also covered in a mesh fabric that makes them more breathable than most headphones that use leather or faux leather.
Each articulating ear cup pivots and rotates to balance the pressure on your ears. And the telescoping arms easily extend, retract, and stay in place. Apple also designed the AirPods Max to be durable, with a stainless steel frame and aluminum ear cups.
The AirPods Max have a digital crown on top of the right ear cup that you can rotate to change the volume. You can also press it once to play, pause, or answer a call. Pressing the digital crown twice will skip, and pressing it three times will skip back. You can also press and hold it to access Siri.
The other button on top of the right ear cup lets you switch between the active noise cancellation and transparency modes. This two-button system improves one of the most frustrating things about the AirPods Pro, which is that they don’t have any buttons for changing the volume.
Active Noise Cancellation
The AirPods Max have six outward-facing microphones and two inward-facing microphones that work together to detect and counter environmental noises with equal “anti‑noise.” With the push a button, you can instantly block out all outside sounds.
Apple’s flagship earbuds, the AirPods Pro, also feature active noise cancellation, but they only use one outward-facing microphone and one inward-facing microphone in each earbud. Plus, the AirPods Pro don’t have passive noise cancellation, meaning they don’t form a tight seal that blocks outside noises.
Apple claims that the ear cups on the AirPods Max have “acoustically engineered” memory foam that creates a tight seal and cancels out even more environmental sound.
With transparency mode, you can turn off noise-cancellation at any time, so you can hear what’s going on around you while still listening to music. This feature comes in handy when you want to talk to someone, or you need to listen for cars when crossing the street.
The AirPods Max also have built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers that track the motion of your head and dynamically anchor sounds to your device. That means the sounds will change when you turn your head, which will further immerse you in your audio.
The spatial audio feature gives you a surround-sound experience with 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Atmos content. This way, movies will sound like they are coming from all around you. So far, spatial audio is available for certain programs on Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max.
AirPods Max also use the inward-facing microphones to measure the sound that is delivered to your ears. Then they adjust the audio up to 200 times a second, depending on how the headphones fit on your head. This means you will get a consistent and faithful music experience that is tailored to you.
The AirPods Max can detect when you put them on and when you remove them. When you remove them, the audio you are listening to will automatically pause. Then, when you put them back on, the audio will start playing again. Lifting one ear cup will pause the sound as well.
Automatic Device Switching
The AirPods Max can smoothly move its audio between your Apple devices. When someone calls you on your iPhone while you are listening to music on your Mac, you can answer the call, and the headphones will automatically switch to your iPhone.
Long Battery Life
The AirPods Max have a battery life of 20 hours, even if you have active noise cancellation and spatial audio enabled. Charging them for five minutes will get you about 1.5 hours of listening time.
The AirPods Max also come with a Smart Case that puts the headphones in ultralow-power mode, helping you maximize their battery life.
How Much are the Apple AirPods Max?
You can get the Apple AirPods Max now for $549. They come with a charging cable, a Smart Case, and a free engraving. The AirPods Max are available in five different colors, including space gray, sky blue, green, silver, and pink.
If you prefer wired-listening, Apple also sells a Lightning to 3.5mm cable, so you can connect your AirPods Max directly to your devices. It sells separately for $35.
How to Get the AirPods Max
To get the AirPods Max, you can go to apple.com/shop and order them online. They will start shipping on December 15. However, it might take several months for them to arrive. When we added them to our cart, it said that we wouldn’t receive them in the mail until mid-March.
If you want to get the AirPods Max faster, you can also go to a physical Apple Store location and purchase them there. To make sure your local store has them in stock and check the store’s safety precautions, visit apple.com/retail.
If you’re looking for a cheaper pair of headphones, check out our list of the best wireless earbuds for any budget.