Apple AirPods Max Headphones Announced
Apple announces its AirPods Max wireless over-ear headphones with active noise cancelling and much, much, more.
Apple AirPods Max headphones pack Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio into a wireless headset said to “bring the magic of AirPods to an over-ear design.”
The new headphones are based around Apple's 10-audio core H1 chips along with software controlling the Cupertino cans' Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, and Spatial Audio.
AirPods Max Comfort and Control
Requiring iOS 14.3 or later to get the max out of the Max, the new Apple headphones promise to be comfy as well as a technological marvel. The “breathable knit mesh canopy” spanning the headband is said to reduce on-head pressure thanks to distributing the AirPods Max weight - although Apple doesn't say how much they actually weigh.
Additionally, there's a stainless steel headband with telescoping arms enabling a perfect fit for all head sizes.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband via a clever gizmo that apparently balances and distributes ear cup pressure, as well as allowing them to pivot and rotate to fit you better. Naturally, each ear cushion uses memory foam.
The Digital Crown control is a nice touch and takes inspiration from the Apple Watch.
AirPods Max Audio
On the other side of those comfy pads are Apple-designed 40-mm dynamic drivers that utilise a “unique dual neodymium ring magnet motor”. This, Apple says, allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1 per cent across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume.
Of course, there's more than stereo sounds happening here. As well as the expected active noise cancelling and transparency modes, there are a couple of interesting additions.
Firstly, Apple's Adaptive EQ adjusts the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to your ears. It then adjusts the low and mid-frequencies in real-time, according to the release.
Secondly, there's Spatial Audio that uses dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space. We're seen and heard this before in 2018's Audeze Mobius. Here we're told to expect an immersive, theatre-like experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a your head as well as the device. The motion data is then compared to remap the sound field. Colour us intrigued.
Set-up and Stamina
Also, AirPods Max gets the nifty one-tap setup as found on the AirPods and AirPods Pro. AirPods Max also automatically detects when they are on your head using the optical and position sensors. Once in place, AirPods Max can pause once removed or if you lift an ear cup.
Battery stamina comes in at 20 hours of audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled.
Finally, you get a soft, slim Smart Case that puts AirPods Max in an ultra-low power state, helping them preserve battery charge when not in use.
Apple AirPod Max is available to order now for $899 in space grey, silver, sky blue, green, and pink, with availability beginning December 15th.
If you wanted AirPods Max in blue, pink or green, it looks like you’ll be waiting till well into 2021. Space Grey soon followed that trend. Finally, the silver AirPods Max held out to become your festive safe bet, but even those are not available until early 2021, now.