This is the latest innovation of the year for Apple, a year after the release of its AirPods Pro. The active noise-canceling signed Airpods Max will be released starting next week.
Apple was thought to have shunned 2020 when it comes to unveiling its first headphones. Unexpectedly, however, the “AirPods Max” have just been introduced through a simple press release, and the Apple store is already showing it to order.
This new product in the lineup was originally to be called “AirPods Studio”, as many rumors put it. “Max” rather than “Studio”, they will complement Apple’s audio line-up that until then consisted of Bluetooth headphones. Apple also marketed Beats headphones, but they have disappeared from the site since November and the special Mac keynote.
Eight microphones for active noise reduction
Let’s talk a little more about headphones. Each is 40mm. However, their power has not been announced by Apple, the company preferring to dwell on the richness of the sound of its product, whether in the bass, treble or mids. It promises harmonic distortion of less than 1% for maximum fidelity. The headphones are also compatible with spatial sound, support 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos streams. Perfect for movie fans.
Of course, the Airpods Max offer active noise reduction. In fact, There are nine microphones distributed among the two headphones. Eight are involved in active noise reduction, while one is dedicated to voice pickup for voice calls. Two of the microphones have two functions: reduce ambient noise and improve voice detection.
As with AirPods and AirPods Pro, AirPods Max incorporates many interesting technologies. First, connectivity is provided by the Apple H1 chip. This is the latest generation of SoC dedicated to audio devices that you find in AirPods Pro, for example. There are two: one with each earbud. This means that the smartphone considers the AirPods Max like the AirPods Pro: two independent headphones. It’s an interesting approach.
The H1 chip is mainly used to connect the headset to an Apple device with which it will communicate better. A great classic. However, you can also connect the headset to an Android or Windows device thanks to the support of the Bluetooth standard, here in version 5.0. This is the minimum required to get quality stereo sound from True Wireless headphones. This is also the case here.
Simple design, five colors
Looking at the images of Apple’s new AirPods Max, one cannot help but see a resemblance to the shape of the Apple Watch, the brand’s smartwatch. Each earpiece of the headset retrieves a format without an angle and with physical buttons. These seem to be used to change mode (transparency, noise reduction) and to adjust the volume (via the small dial).
Due to technical constraints and the necessity of the times, Apple headphones do not have old-fashioned buttons. This could raise criticism over Apple’s choice not to integrate its controls more inconspicuously on the AirPods Max. Moreover, for charging, a Lightning port is preferred to a USB-C port, a real generational conflict.
Five colors will be available, namely Space Gray, Silver, Green, Sky Blue and Pink. Each shade recalls the proposal of the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro.
AirPods Max price and availability
Now let’s talk about the prices, unveiled today: Apple announces its AirPods Max starting at $549.00. The helmet is available to order since Tuesday, December 8 and deliveries will begin on December 15.
At this price point, the AirPods Max are already garnering a lot of reviews. Many expect it to be of “Studio” quality, where Apple has abandoned the name.