Today, Apple issued a press release, announcing the AirPods Max. The company’s first over-the-ear headphones under the AirPods banner is said to have cutting edge features such as Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, and spatial audio. In order to include the suite of features, Apple is powering the AirPods Max with its H1 chip, with one in each ear cup.
“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, in a statement.
“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,” added Joswiak.
The headphones have been designed with stainless steel arms with knit mesh surrounding the headband. The ear cushions are attached to the headband with a “revolutionary mechanism” to ensure they are balanced and distribute ear pressure accordingly with acoustically engineered memory foam. Apple’s AirPods Max features a Digital Crown, similar to the Apple Watch, that can be used to play, pause, skip audio tracks, and take phone calls.
The AirPods Max utilizes a gyroscope and accelerometer when paired with an iPad or iPhone to track the user’s head and device and remap sound fields. It is also capable of delivering 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. Additionally, Apple’s Adaptive EQ, a feature introduced with the AirPods Pro, uses microphones to adjust the sound emitting from the device, based on the headphone’s fit.
To achieve active noise cancellation, each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise. A single microphone inside each ear cup monitors the audio. Apple’s noise cancellation will continuously adapt based on the headphone’s fit and movement in real-time. With a single button press, users can swap between the AirPods Max’s active noise cancellation to its Transparency Mode. Here, users can continue listening to audio while hearing the environment around them.
According to Apple, the AirPods Max will have 20-hours of battery life. This is a significant step up from the AirPods and AirPods Pro which promise anywhere between 4-5 hours. Apple’s 20-hour estimation includes high-fidelity audio, talk time, or media playback with Active Noise Cancellation and Spatial Audio enabled.
Apple will be shipping the AirPods Max in a case they’ve dubbed a “Smart Case”. It’s described as a case made up of soft material and when the headphones are stored within, they will be kept in an “ultra low power state” to preserve battery life.
Additional features noted by Apple include Automatic Switching, so users can seamlessly move between using the AirPods Max with their iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The Audio Sharing feature enables users to share an audio stream between two sets of AirPods when using iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV 4K. Siri functions will also be available on AirPods Max.
The AirPods Max will be available in five colours. The first is silver, which Apple has features prominently in its initial advertising. The remaining available colour options include space grey, sky blue, green, and pink.
Preorders for the AirPods Max are now available. Shipments on the headphones will begin on December 15th.