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Apple unveils $549 AirPods Max headphones with ANC and spatial audio

By Nadeem Sarwar December 8, 2020, 9:40 am
AirPods Max

Apple has just launched its highly-anticipated over-the-headphones and is calling them AirPods Max. To start, the design is reminiscent of what we saw in leaked renders months ago, and the feature set is also somewhat familiar. Apple is promising high-fidelity sound courtesy of a custom acoustic design and is offering features such as Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, and spatial audio. Priced at $549, Apple says the AirPods Max can be ordered starting today, and they will ship starting December 15.

Talking about the design, you get a stainless steel headband with telescoping headband arms and a breathable knit mesh canopy, while the ear cushions are padded with memory foam. Apple has equipped the AirPods Max with a digital crownjust like the one on Apple Watch – that will be used for volume and playback control, answering calls as well as summoning Siri. The headphones will be available in five colors – space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink.


Talking about the innards, the AirPods Max come equipped with custom 40mm dynamic drivers and there is also dual neodymium ring magnet motor to control harmonic distortion. Each earcup comes fitted with the in-house H1 chip that brings computational audio features to the table such as Adaptive EQ, ANC, a transparency mode, and spatial audio. Here’s a brief list of the key AirPods Max features:

Adaptive EQ: Measures the sound signal delivered to users and adjusts the low and mid-frequencies in real-time to offer a rich listening experience.

Active Noise Cancellation: Three outward-facing microphones on each earcup and one inner mic intelligently detect the external noise to isolate it using computational audio, and provide an immersive experience.

Transparency Mode: The dedicated noise control button allows users to enable the transparency mode which lets them enjoy their music and also be aware of their surroundings.

Spatial Audio: “Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of a user’s head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as the user’s head moves,” says Apple. Essentially, Spatial Audio tracks head movement to accordingly adjust directional sound reacher the ears.

Automatic Switching: Users can seamlessly switch to attending calls on their iPhone while listening to music from their iPad or Mac.

Audio Sharing: By just bringing the AirPods Max near a device and tapping it once, users can share audio with two sets of AirPods on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K. The AirPods Max headphones offer the same seamless pairing experience as the AirPods Pro.

Music playback will pause if users lift one of the earcups, and will resume automatically by detecting when they are placed on users’ head. Apple claims an impressive 20 hours of music listening, talk time, or movie playback with ANC and spatial audio enabled. Apple offers a Smart Case for the AirPods Max that puts the headphones in an ultra-low power state to save battery.


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