Apple launches superb ($549) over-ear AirPods Max, available Dec. 15
AirPod Max: Hi-fi speakers with Siri inside
AirPods Max are high-fidelity wireless headphones with an over ear design that’s tweaked for excellent acoustics. The headphones include the Apple H1 chip and are beefed-up with computational audio to support the audio for better music playback.
In a big borrowing from Apple Watch, these headphones have a Digital Crown, which offers precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri. Apple promises Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
AirPods Max come in five gorgeous colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink, and are available to order starting today, with availability beginning Tuesday, December 15.
What Apple said
“AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design. With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips, and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience.”
All about the design
There are lots of interesting design features, including use of the Digital Crown.
- The breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, is made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure.
- The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes.
- Telescoping headband arms smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit.
- Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a revolutionary mechanism that balances and distributes ear cup pressure.
- Each ear cushion uses acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal.
What about the sound?
Apple has some of the best audio hardware and software designers in the business.
The original HomePod was a statement of intent for this, and you can see the strength of the team each time you listen to the speakers on any Apple product.
AirPods Max are all about the music, of course, so you get a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver the company promises can deliver rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard.
A unique 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 headphones use computational audio to deliver the highest quality listening experience possible. There are ten audio cores — capable of 9 billion operations per second — so whatever you are listening to should be constantly tweaked for the best possible experience.
AirPods Max automatically detect when they are on a user’s head using the optical and position sensors.
Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when the user simply lifts one ear cup. 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.
Here’s the ad:
AirPods Max come with a soft, slim Smart Case that puts AirPods Max in an ultralow power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use.