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Apple announces the AirPods Max noise cancelling headphones to close out 2020

What's with the case though?

Published onDecember 8, 2020

apple airpods max headphones header
  • Apple announced the Apple AirPods Max, a new set of over-ear headphones.
  • The headphones directly compete with Sony and Bose, who have dominated the noise cancelling market for years.
  • The AirPods Max retail for $549 and come in five colorways.

Apple has had quite the year for hardware launches, but it’s not stopping any time soon. The company announced a new pair of active noise cancelling headphones called the Apple AirPods Max. With these new headphones, Apple is taking aim at the likes of Bose and Sony which have dominated the noise cancelling market for years now. Luckily for Apple, the AirPods Max seem to pack just as many features as its competitors.

As you’d expect, the AirPods Max are beautifully designed, packed with features that will work best with Apple devices, and come with a giant price tag. The headphones have just a single button for controlling the noise cancelling and a Digital Crown (inspired by the one found on the Apple Watch) which controls playback and volume. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any touch-sensitive controls like you’ll find on some other notable noise cancelling headphones.

Now, we say the headphones are beautifully designed, save for maybe the awkward-looking charging case (below).

Inside the headphones is the same H1 chip that lives in the AirPods Pro. Thus, you can expect the same quick pairing feature, easy switching between Apple devices, and improved battery life. Apple claims these will get you about 20 hours of constant playback with noise cancelling turned on. The AirPods Max use four microphones in tandem to constantly cancel outside noise before it reaches your ear. You can also toggle on Transparency Mode if you need to hear what’s going on around you too — a feature that’s also found in the AirPods Pro.

The AirPods Max also have Siri compatibility and Spatial Audio, which is a fancy way of saying it’s compatible with surround sound formats like 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. This is, again, a feature that is already available in AirPods Pro, but if you weren’t a fan of the true wireless design then this might be for you.

Related: The best noise cancelling headphones

The Apple AirPods Max will be available to order on Tuesday, December 15 and will run you $549 — a price tag significantly more expensive than the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which are the top picks right now.

Apple AirPods Max
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