The Apple AirPods Max headphones just got officially announced!
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When Apple stopped selling headphones from rival brands, it became clear that the Cupertino company is preparing to announce its own new over-ear headphones. We initially expected the long-awaited AirPods Studio to be announced at the iPhone 12 5G October event, but that didn't happen.
Next, the AirPods Studio were rumored to get official at Apple's November 10 "One More Thing" event, but it primarily focused on Apple's new ARM-powered (M1) MacBooks.
In the end, Apple just announced the headphones today, on December 8th. And they're actually called AirPods Max!
AirPods Max price officially announced
Several leaks had suggested that the Apple's new AirPods Max will start at around $350. Apple has now confirmed that the headphones will be priced quite above that, at $549. They will be shipping on December 15th and can be ordered right now.
- The AirPods Max cost $549
AirPods Max have a classic design and are not modular
As the leaks had suggested, the AirPods Max feature a fairly classic headphone design with oval cans held by a metal frame. However, the headphones aren't modular, as some leakers had claimed.
According to Apple, the AirPods Max feature "incredible high-fidelity audio", adaptive EQ (sound equalization), Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio. Each earcup can independently pivot and rotate, in order to adapt to the user's head. The earcups' cushions are made out of memory foam, with Apple claiming an effective seal for passive noise isolation.
A digital crown, similar to the one found on Apple Watch is used for volume control. It can also be used to play and pause music, skip tracks, answer phone calls and of course, activate Siri. The button we see on the opposing side of the crown will be used to switch between ANC and Transparency mode.
The headphones feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver, which Apple says provides rich and deep bass, accurate mids, and crisp and clean highs. Powering the AirPods Max is also Apple's H1 chip, one in each earcup. Apple says that each chip is capable of "computational audio powers" that will be utilized for ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), among other features.
The AirPods Max will be available in five colors:
- Space gray
- Sky blue
AirPods Max confirmed features
As we expected, Apple's virtual assistant Siri is integrated with the AirPods Max and can be triggered via the digital crown, with a press and hold. In addition, the headphones can detect when they're on the user's head and thus can pause the music if they're not, or even if the user takes off only one of the cups.
- Adaptive EQ: This feature will adjust the sound (low and mid-frequencies) in real time, according to the fit and seal of the ear cushions, in an effort to provide the best listening experience.
- Active Noise Cancellation: Like most premium headphones, the AirPods Max has ANC. It will utilize three outward-facing microphones found in each cup, in order to detect environmental noise.
- Transparency Mode: This feature will allow users to listen to their music while also being able to hear the environment around them, as opposed to ANC which blocks all environmental noise.
- Spatial Audio: According to Apple, the AirPods Max use "spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theaterlike experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos."
AirPods Max battery life and Smart Case accessory
- Up to 20 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancellation on
- 5 minutes of charge time will provide around 1.5 hours of listening time
According to Apple, with ANC and spatial audio on, the AirPods Max will last up to 20 hours on a single battery charge. Apple will be selling the AirPods Max bundled with a Smart Case, that will be able to put the headphones in an "ultralow power state", which Apple says helps to preserve their battery charge when not in use.
The AirPods Max charge via a Lightning connector instead of USB Type-C and come with a Lightning to USB-C Cable.