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AirPods Max: Apple’s new headphones are seriously expensive

Apple finally lifts the lid on a pair of shockingly pricey over-ear cans

At long last, Apple has launched a pair of over-ear headphones. They’re called the AirPods Max – not the AirPods Studio, as some had suggested – and they were announced rather unceremoniously today by the Cupertino-based tech firm via the Apple Newsroom.

Promising to bring “the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design”, the AirPods Max are Apple’s first pair of headphones: up until now, the firm has been content with its fairly groundbreaking line of true wireless earbuds.

In typical Apple fashion, these headphones are far from affordable. At £549, they’re more expensive than almost every pair of headphones on our best headphones roundup; even Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM4 come in at a comparatively palatable £350.

For the money, you are getting quite a lot of product. Like the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max support active noise cancellation (ANC) and can adjust the EQ to suit the “fit and seal of the ear cushions”. They also offer the same Transparency mode as the AirPods Pro, meaning you can let a bit of outside noise in at the press of a button. Nifty.

Also carrying across from the AirPods Pro is Spatial Audio. Paired with dynamic head tracking, this essentially better equips the AirPods Max to handle surround sound – meaning you can make the most of content (such as films) recorded in 5.1, 7.1 or Dolby Atmos.

The AirPods Max employ Apple’s H1 chip – the same one found inside the AirPods Pro and Beats Powerbeats Pro – and therefore support voice assistance courtesy of Siri alongside superior connection stability and range. 

Powering the headphones, meanwhile, is a battery that’ll run for 20 hours with ANC and Spatial Audio activated. When not in use, the AirPods Max tuck rather neatly into a unique carry case (pictured above) that automatically places the headphones in an ultra-low-power mode to conserve battery.

The AirPods Max are available for preorder now in five colours – Space Grey, silver, Sky Blue, green and pink – and will ship from 15 December. We can’t wait to see whether they deserve such a stupendous price tag. 

Preorder now from Apple

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