Apple goes over-ear with AirPods Max wireless headphones

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When Apple showcased its new M1 silicon last month at an event called One More Thing, we though that was it in terms of hardware for 2020. As it turns out, there’s actually one more last thing – the AirPods Max.

As you can tell from the images, these are a pair of new over-ear wireless earphones from Apple, inspired by the “courageous” wireless AirPods that came before it.

As with all things Apple, this new device commands a hefty price tag, $549 (~R8 248) to be more precise, with AirPods Max set to go on sale Stateside from 15th December onwards, with pre-orders starting today in the US.

At the time of writing, no local pricing or availability has been mentioned, although we may need to wait until next year given the time it has taken for the iPhone to reach our shores.

While we wait for more information, let’s look at what’s on offer. To that end five different colour options are available – space grey, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. For those pedantic people out there, it will mean you can precisely colour match your different Apple hardware.

In terms of acoustics, there is a 40mm driver powering things. The design also features 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,” according to Apple.




There’s an H1 processor in each ear cup too, which takes care of the smart elements on offer for these new over-ear wireless earphones.

On that front, an adaptive EQ function, similar to the one on the in-ear AirPods is present, as is active noise cancellation (ANC), along with a transparency mode to get both audio and outside noise, and an immersive spatial audio mode for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos.

It therefore looks like Apple will be billing this as a high fidelity audio experience.

As for battery life, Apple says it delivers up to 20 hours of life from a single full charge with ANC and Spatial Audio enabled, which is quite good, if true. No word though on any quick charging, or indeed how ling it takes to fully charge from 0 percent.

With the AirPods pretty much leading the way as far as in-ear wireless earphones go, love them or hate them, it should be interesting to see how these new high fidelity over-ear offerings fare.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.