Apple has finally announced its long-rumoured over-the-ear headphones, named the AirPods Max, which will set consumers back a hefty £549.
The product wasn’t released during any of the company’s three product launch events since September, and in a break from Apple’s usual product lines other than its iPhones, are available in a range of colours; silver, space grey, sky blue, pink, and green.
The headphones will only work on Apple devices running the latest software, and are available for pre-order in the UK from today, before they begin shipping on Tuesday 15 December.
At £549 the AirPods Max cost more than three times Apple’s normal AirPods at £159, and more than twice as much as the AirPods Pro at £249.
The headphones are closer in cost to Apple’s cheapest next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 12 Mini, at £699, than its other AirPod products, and cost £100 more than both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X.
For that extra buck, Apple says the wireless headphones feature a 40mm dynamic driver it designed in-house to cover a range of pitches, from deep bass to high-frequency sounds – powered by Apple’s H1 chips that have 10 audio cores to modify the listening experience.
These audio cores power what Apple calls “computational audio” helping to “block outside noise, adapt audio to the fit and seal of your ear cushions, and make movie scenes sound like they’re happening all around you.”
According to Apple the headphones can provide up to 20 hours of audio and talk time on a single charge, with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled.
They also come in a smart case that puts the AirPods Max in “an ultralow power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use”.
The headphones are fitted with a digital crown – similar to the dial used on Apple Watches – allowing listeners to control the volume, skip between tracks, answer phone calls or activate Siri.
Despite this range of features, the AirPods Max will be competing with significantly cheaper top-end headphones from rivals, including Bose’s noise cancelling headphones 700 range, which are available for £400.
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