After months of speculation, Apple took the wraps off its new high-end over-the-ear headset. Called AirPods Max, the headphones come with Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Canceling (ANC) and spatial audio, and the device sync features that made the original AirPods famous. Get ready to empty all your wallets though, the AirPods Max costs $ 549 and is on pre-order today with a release date set for December 1
That high price isn’t the only pitfall that might make you think twice about dropping some cash on the AirPods Max. It seems they only work with Apple devices, sorry Android and Windows users. It’s buried deep in Apple’s press release, but the company states:
AirPods Max requires Apple devices with iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later.
The list may not be complete, but it only suggests Apple devices. It’s not clear why it wouldn’t work with Android devices, such as other AirPods models, but the company does sell a lighting jack to headphone jack adapter that could get around the problem. However, you will lose at least some of the features, such as spatial audio, in the process.
Many of these features come directly from Apple devices. That includes Transparency mode, Spatial Audio, ANC and Adaptive EQ. And Apple put a spin on the Apple Watch’s digital crown.
The new digital crown gives you control over the volume, along with the ability to play and pause audio, skip tracks, answer and end phone calls and activate Siri. You can find it next to the ANC switch. Audio-wise, the AirPods Max has a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that the company claims provides “high-fidelity audio.” Apple says the “custom acoustic design and advanced software” will deliver “rich, deep bass, accurate mids, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard.”
Like Airpods and AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max uses an H1 chip to make pairing with your Apple devices faster and easier. You can set the device with a single tap. And the AirPods Max will detect when you wear them and when you take them off.
If you do take them off, you can put them in the included Smart Case, which in turn puts the AirPods Max into an ultra-low mode to extend battery life. Unfortunately, you use a lightning cable, not USB-C, to charge the headphones. Apple promises that you will get up to 20 hours of playtime with active noise cancellation and spatial audio enabled.
You can pre-order the Apple AirPods Max today for $ 549, and they’ll be released on December 15. They are available in space gray, silver, sky blue, green and pink.