Apple has launched its end of year hardware surprise – the Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones. These take the AirPod technology into an over the ear headphone design. Apple will release the AirPods Max headphones on Tuesday, 15th December but pre-orders are available immediately.
The new over-ear design from Apple includes a number of key technologies, such as; a custom acoustic design, H1 chips, and advanced software to power computational audio for a breakthrough listening experience with Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
Greg Joswiak, Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing, called the AirPods Max an over-ear design based upon the "magical AirPods experience" with high-fidelity audio for "the ultimate personal listening experience".
Inside the AirPods Max are custom designed 40mm dynamic drivers said to produce "rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency," sound. Moreover, the design includes 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," says Apple. Each ear cup features a deca-core Apple H1 chip capable of 9 billion operations per second for computational audio enhancements and features.
For audio in, Apple AirPods Max headphones include beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice.
The AirPods Max intelligence goes beyond the pure listening experience as, for example, the optical and positional sensors in the headband detect users wearing these headphones.
Users interact with the AIrPods Max via the Digital Crown, inspired by the Apple Watch, and this will provide precise control of volume levels, as well as being able to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri.
Moving on to the topic of construction, Apple says that the AirPods Max utilise a stainless steel frame, with a breathable knit mesh cover to distribute on-head pressure comfortably. Telescoping headband arms smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit. Furthermore, each ear cup attaches to the headband to provide a balanced pressure for an effective memory foam ear cup seal.
Users can expect about 20 hours of battery life for high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. The AirPods Max come with a soft slim carry case that put them into an ultralow power state for transport.
As mentioned in the intro, the AIrPods Max headphones become available from Tuesday, 15th December but can be pre-ordered now. You can choose one of five colours; space grey, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. Pricing is USD$549 / GBP£549.