Apple’s One Last Thing for 2020: AirPods Max

Originally published at: Apple’s One Last Thing for 2020: AirPods Max - TidBITS

Just in time for the holidays, Apple has introduced the AirPods Max, over-ear headphones with impressive specs, a questionable case, and a stratospheric price tag.

Incredibly expensive. What makes the cost so high do you think? I currently have over the ear bluetooth headphones that seem ok. I got them from somebody in my weekly volunteer teaching class. It doesn’t have noise cancelation, but the sound quality seems nice when I’m on the train. It also doesn’t fold flat like these. But I suspect the price was 1/25th of these new Apple headphones.

There can’t be any justification for charging more than Bose. Under pressure, they have lowered prices before. Remember the very first iPhone?


Lots of people buy the higher cost watches too. Function the exact same as the base models. Anything we put on our bodies holds interest beyond performance.

I think they look great and am willing to bet the design conscious/apple ecosystem potential market for these is way larger than the exacting audiophile market.

I’d be willing to consider them. I’ve a pair of Sony studio cans plugged into a DAC, clumsy and wired and probably cost about two thirds of the Max between them. Don’t have noise cancellation, transparency mode, Siri…

I love my AirPods Pro for outside but in the studio I much prefer over ear.

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I can’t help looking at the Smart Case photo and thinking that it looks more like, um, corsetry than a case for headphones.


They look nice, but OMG is that expensive!

Lots of cool features and such, but I wonder how much better (if at all) they will sound compared to my 5 year old $50 Sennheiser HD-203 wired headphones.

Heavily padded corsetry. Maybe Apple will design an SE model and case for the well endowed who don’t need padding.

Compared to the $52,000 Madonna’s Blond Ambition bra sold for at auction, Air Pods Max and look like an incredible bargain. But a better comparison might be Helmut Lang’s Bra Purse, which was introduced about a year or so ago, and whose price has been gradually marked down from $635 to $254.

It is all about the sound.

We just don’t know yet. But we will. Lots of people will put these to the test. Just like they did with the Big home pods. Remember that when the big HomePods hit the market lots of people said they were too expensive.
Then they listened to a stereo pair, and went wow, ok, I see know.

High end audiophile, studio closed headphones can easily run over $1,500, and average about $800. So these might be a very good price point.

It is all about the sound.

It really isn’t. Apple always aims to get the high end price of the mass market. This isn’t for audiophiles, this is for folks showing off their style. Question is whether that price sells.

Considering that shipping dates for some models is apparently approaching March 2021 I’m guessing that they are doing OK.

Now, whether people like them once they get them and how they do long term is obviously another question.

I bought some Bose 700 Noise Cancelling this spring when everyone being home 24/7 was making it hard to concentrate. And I’ve got my AirPods Pro. I think I’ll let others enjoy these, but they aren’t for me.

Early adopters seem to be grabbing them, but we’ll see after that. Hard to tell before they’ve even officially shipped.

Unless these actively warn the wearer of some pending doom or have an amazing improvement over audio or noise cancellation (just saw that nope, Sony and Bose have more levels of cancellation), I see these as mostly vanity over practical use.
Me? I actually saw this and immediately ordered a set of ISOtunes Link (used a code from some YouTuber so save $10) for a deal of $59. I mean, 14hr battery, big buttons for when I have yard work gloves on, obnoxious orange panels so I can see where I left them, and noise protection when in the shop or working around machinery.
Note: I have their other ISOtunes ear pieces but the inner-ear models on cords tend to work out of the ears, and buttons are clumsy. Older ISOtunes beeps between songs. And the cordless ones, I forget where they are at most of the time…LOL. I do not receive anything promoting them. If I want to listen to better source material, I use wired AKG Pro model, which is still cheaper than 2/3 the price of Apple’s Max (price).

With tongue in cheek, today’s The Joy of Tech comic... AirPods Max secret feature?

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I’m actually tempted to try them. I like ANC, but I also imagine that these large soft cans are much more comfortable to wear than my AirPods Pro. They’re expensive, but if they’re really comfy that would probably be OK (kind of like how my 12 mini was really expensive but also super nice compared to a $350 SE2). If you could get them right away I’d probably just order a pair and then send them back if not happy. But since I’m looking at waiting till Mar just to try them, I’ll probably pass. Maybe they’ll end up seeing a HomePod type discount a couple months later. If not, we know they’re selling and making Apple a boat load of cash. :wink:

Often, even when ship dates shown are weeks or months off, there are a few available for pickup at Apple Stores. So check the online Apple Store when they become available and order with the pickup option.

I was able to get a HomePod Mini on the day they they wee first available at a local Apple Store despite shipping times of several weeks

John Gruber, has a review up.

Heavy Is the Head That Wears the AirPods Max.

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The Meze Audio Empyrean headphones are $2,995; the B&O H95 headphones are $800. Apple, IMHO, is aiming at the spot between the mass market Sony/Bose consumer and the high end Meze/B&O audiophile. Part of the higher price for Max headphones is material-steel & aluminum compared to the plastic on the Sony/Bose models. Also the Apple engineering-synching with all devices, the crown-style controller-is a cost. And the markup Apple charges because it can. Bose/Sony=Honda Accord; AirpodMax=BMW; B&O/Meze=Ferrari. Because I have and love these Meze’s- in the market for the Max. But after the reviews by the audiophile sites appear that opinion might change.

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My dream Apple purchase was B&O not Beats. I was so disappointed - but I also liked BeOS over NeXT. What do i know anyhow… :grinning:

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I recently read an article that the case can serve as double duty for a wardrobe malfunction where someone needs an emergency replacement for a bra. Go figure. :grinning:

I think I’d prefer Bose headphones. I’d like to see a comparison review of these with feature-equivalent Bose models.

I’ll definitely pass on these, too. I have AirPods Pro and for on the ear, the original Monster brand Wireless Beats (with their original box, cords, red cleaning cloth, sticker and docs). Even though they were purchased pre-2012, the original battery in them still works and holds a decent charge!