Today Apple announced the rumoured Apple over-ear headphones, called AirPods Max and in terms of features, there is a lot to unpack, they support Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), spatial audio, Adaptive EQ and high-fidelity audio. Apple is taking orders from today and they’ll be generally available on the 15th December, next week. Prices are £549 / $549.
AirPods Max are a mixture of the AirPods Pro and Beats Solo Pro in an over-ear design, the cups are aluminium and the ear cushions themselves are attached magnetically and can be replaced, if damaged for £69 / $69 each. Each ear cup is attached with a telescope arm, which both move independently to make sure the fit against the head is the best it can be.
Inside each cup is an H1 chip, to help with computational audio and to process the ANC as the AirPods Max have nine microphones, eight are used for ANC alone and three are used for picking up voice, Apple says that two of the voice ones have shared load between ANC and voice. There is also one microphone inside each ear cup to make sure the sound is coming through.
Apple has also packed AirPods Max with sensors, each cup has an:
- Optical sensor
- Position sensor
- Case-detect sensor
There is also a gyroscope, but only on the left cup. All the sensors are used for making sure spatial audio works, as it can track the users head to ensure the audio is coming from the right place, if watching on an iPad or iPhone.
Like all AirPods and Beats products, AirPods Max add themselves to the users iCloud account once paired with the first device to offer seamless handoff between iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod touch. It’ll also show up on Apple TV too.
One complaint with the AirPods and AirPods Pro is that adjusting the volume can be a little tricky, as you need to dig out your iPhone or use your Apple Watch to adjust the volume, the AirPods Max have an Apple Watch style Digital Crown on the top which can be used to adjust volume, skip and rewind tracks. The button next to it lets you cycle between the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency. Transparency mode can be especially useful for crossing roads, ordering coffee etc without removing them.
Apple also has a Smart Case included in the box, as well as a Lightning to USB-C cable for charging. The case puts the headphones in a low power mode to preserve battery life. However they don’t charge them like the smaller AirPods.
AirPods Max are on sale now in the United Kingdom, United States as well as other countries for £549 / $549 and come in Space Grey, Silver, Green, Sky Blue and Pink. Available on the 15th December, next week. Engraving is also supported too if ordered from apple.com or the Apple Store app.