Apple headset Airpods max. Apple Airpods Max 2: Release date, price, features, and more

Apple Airpods Max 2: Release date, price, features, and more

Apple‘s second-gen headphones will include a case that’s actually protective, as well as other refinements.

Apple has been vying for our ears for years, and the Airpods Max made quite the splash in 2020. Almost three years later, these expensive headphones still have some of the best noise canceling around. There’s no official word on the Airpods Max 2, but Apple’s been awarded a few recent patents that suggest the next Airpods over-ear headphones will have a few new tricks.

Here’s everything we know about the Airpods Max (2nd generation).

Will there be an Apple Airpods Max 2 series?

The Airpods Max (2nd generation) are a certainty, but the timing is up in the air. In January of this year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that there will be a new Airpods Max.

What is the Apple Airpods Max 2 release date?

Ming-Chi Kuo also reports that the Airpods Max may not reach our ears until mid-2024 or early 2025. Kuo shared that the Airpods assembly may change hands from GoerTek to Hong Teng. This change of manufacturing partner could be responsible for the delayed release of the Airpods Max 2.

For reference, Apple announced the original Airpods Max on December 8, 2020. The Airpods Max were available for purchase a week later, on December 15, 2020.

What features and specs will the Apple Airpods Max (2nd generation) have?

The Airpods Max 2 will have many of the same features as the Airpods Max, including noise canceling and a similar build. Here’s what we surmise will change with the next-gen Airpods Max.


Apple’s debut over-ear headphones use premium materials that stand out from other flagships’ plastic housings. We can expect distinctive materials and a similarly vibrant set of colorways to choose from when the Airpods Max 2 comes to fruition.

Apple is shifting its products from Lightning to USB-C for charging, and we’ll likely see this with the Airpods Max 2. This switch would make the Airpods Max 2 a little friendlier to Android phone owners.

Let’s hope the Airpods Max 2 come with a fully enclosed case.

The Airpods Max 2 may have touch controls that account for the headphones’ orientation.

According to Apple’s patent US-11381892-B1, we could see an upgraded Smart Case. Frankly, anything would be an improvement, and the patent shows a traditional style, all-encompassing case with a flexible magnetic clasp to keep it shut. It will likely have the same functionality as the original Smart Case — forcing the Airpods Max 2 into low-power mode.

The Airpods Max 2 may ditch the Digital Crown on the Airpods Max in favor of some unique touch controls. Patent US-10721550-B2 from Apple covers a gesture-based touch system that’s supposed to work in conjunction with the headphones’ orientation. If the Airpods Max 2 rest against the user’s neck, they may interpret a swipe gesture differently than if worn upright. Controls like this would take some getting used to.

Software features

Like the Airpods Max before them, the Airpods Max 2 will have many Apple-exclusive features. Listeners should enjoy one-step pairing and auto-switching between Apple devices. We’ll also get advanced location services through Apple’s Find My app.

The Airpods Max house an H1 chip in each ear cup, and the Airpods Max 2 will likely replace the H1 chips with H2 chips for improved noise canceling and greater processing power. We’ll see Adaptive EQ, personalized Apple Spatial Audio, and head tracking again.

H2 chips should allow the Airpods Max to support the latest features Apple announced at WWDC for the Airpods Pro 2: Adaptive Audio, Conversational Awareness, and Personalized Volume. Adaptive Audio processes your environmental sounds and enables a hybrid mix of ANC and Transparency pass-through. This mode will tailor the listening experience as you move from one environment to another.

The Airpods Max 2 will use even more machine learning to automatically tune the listening experience to your habits and surroundings.

With Conversational Awareness, the Airpods Max 2 will sense when you speak. The headphones will then immediately decrease the volume of your audio content, reduce background noise, and enhance the voices of people directly in front of you. We’re eager to see Conversation Awareness on the Airpods Max 2, but it’s nothing new. Sony’s Speak-to-Chat has been doing something similar for years.

Personalized Volume will learn the volume levels you prefer in certain environmental conditions and automatically apply those levels when you enter those spaces. This will reduce the number of times you interact with the headphones or your phone to change the volume.

Noise canceling and audio quality.

The Airpods Max consistently cancel low and midrange frequencies, making for a quiet commute or plane ride.

Apple’s Adaptive EQ makes adjustments to the headphone output to keep things consistent even when the fit isn’t perfect.

As we’ve come to expect with iterative upgrades, the Airpods Max 2 will have better noise canceling than the Airpods Max, but we don’t yet know to what degree. In 2022, the US Patent and Trademark Office approved another of Apple’s patents (US-11250833-B1) to reduce feedback (“audio howl”). This will further improve the user experience by eliminating any perceptible feedback when using ANC or transparency mode with the Airpods Max 2.

The frequency response probably won’t change significantly with the Airpods Max 2, but we may see improved data rates with the ability to receive 24-bit or lossless Bluetooth audio. In an interview with What Hi-Fi, Apple’s VP of Acoustics, Gary Geaves, shared that the company has been working around Bluetooth’s limitations but wants more bandwidth. Like Samsung, Apple may have its own 24-bit Bluetooth audio solution.

Apple Airpods Max review: If you can’t Beats ’em.

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The Airpods Max have excellent audio quality, easy-to-use controls, and good battery life, but their size isn’t a good fit for everyone.

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Stylish design
  • Impressive audio quality
  • Good battery life
  • Way too expensive
  • Smart Case is pointless
  • No power button
  • Uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • Earcup size is an issue for some
  • No water resistance rating
  • No headphone jack
  • Mic quality needs improvement

Best Prime Day Apple deals

I’ve lost track of the amount of times people predicted Apple would finally announce its long-rumored Airpods Max at one of its many 2020 events. And when it didn’t happen, I figured we’d all continue to speculate about their release for another couple of years.

But even though the company dropped the announcement without much fanfare via press release, Apple’s first pair of non-Beats-branded over-ear headphones have made a loud entrance.

Their super unique design alone is enough to make you do a double take, with bulbous ear cups, eye-catching colors, and a weird Smart Case accessory. Tack on that exorbitant 550 price tag, and you’re right to question whether these are actually a real Apple product or an elaborate fan joke.

Yes, the internet was quick to criticize Apple for both the obnoxious look and extremely high price of its Airpods Max shortly after their unveiling. But for that amount of money, it’s only fair that people would expect the highest quality all around, especially with steep competition like the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Despite the internet’s penchant for shared outrage, however, it appears those fears were mostly unfounded.

The Airpods Max were inevitable if you consider Apple’s headphones trajectory. After all, the company acquired Beats by Dre back in 2014, inheriting a plethora of data in the process, encompassing everything from design to features.

In 2016, Apple built upon its success with Beats by launching its very own wireless earbuds, the original Airpods, followed by a second-generation version just a few years later. To further add to the lineup, it then also released the higher-end Airpods Pro in 2019, which feature noise cancellation, a more comfortable fit, and better sound quality.

The new Airpods Max essentially represent a culmination of all the technology and features that have made Apple‘s line of earbuds so successful. These over-ear headphones come equipped with noise cancellation, a transparency mode, and spatial audio.

Based on the immediate social media response (or rather, outcry) on launch day, however, it’s clear that Apple’s brand name alone can’t carry the Airpods Max to success. Just because the company has proven its ability to produce some damn good earbuds, that doesn’t automatically mean it can do the same for headphones — even if they were sold out in just one day.

So, are the Airpods Max really worth 550? The answer is yes, but only if you have a big head and don’t wear glasses.

One size (does not) fit all

Even after scrolling through all the memes and mean tweets about Apple’s new headphones, I was still unwavering in my enthusiasm. All I could think about was rockin’ these bad boys on the subway to and from work (in a non-pandemic world, anyway). I felt like the Airpods Max were the statement piece I was missing for my collection of cute outfits.

That all changed once I had them in my possession.

Aesthetically, the Airpods Max are mesmerizing. Between the unique knit mesh canopy headband and the smooth aluminum ear cups — which come in green, sky blue, pink, silver, and space gray — it’s clear Apple didn’t play it safe with these, especially compared to the very simplistic Airpods and Airpods Pro.

Deep down, however, I knew these headphones probably wouldn’t work for my small head and, sadly, I was right. The minute I unboxed the Airpods Max, put them on, and looked in the mirror, I started laughing. The ear cups swallow my entire head whole and also feel so heavy that it’s almost like I’m giving my skull a workout. Wearing these with glasses felt super painful too, causing me slight headaches and throbbing in my ears throughout the day.

Are the Apple AirPods Max WORTH the money as a college student? ����

I wish I had nice professional photos of myself wearing the headphones, but we’re in a pandemic and it’s winter, so socially distanced outdoor photoshoots are no longer as easy as they used to be. Still I want to show you how ridiculous they look on my small head (and potentially yours), so here’s an impromptu video I took of myself instead:

Having cycled through many pairs of over-ear headphones throughout the years, I’m used to all these issues. But since Apple emphasized that these headphones were designed for comfort —even for those with glasses — I was upset to have experienced the opposite.

Beauty is pain

The Airpods Max feature a knit mesh canopy that’s meant to distribute the weight of the headphones and reduce pressure on your head. Attached to that is a silicone-coated stainless steel headband with telescoping arms that you can pull in and out to adjust for the right fit. Then there are the aluminum ear cups with memory foam cushions — both of which are removable, so you can replace them for an extra 69 if they wear out over time.

Over the right ear cup are the controls (which I’ll get to in detail later) including a digital crown and a noise-control button. The bottom right is home to a lightning port to charge the headphones. Ironically, there’s no headphone jack to be found on the Airpods Max. So, yes, you have no choice but to use these wirelessly and keep them charged.

The headphones also feature a total of eight microphones: Both ear cups have three mics on the outside and one on the inside. If you’re the type who is constantly on calls throughout the day, you should know the mic’s sound quality isn’t great — it makes my voice sound echoey and flat.

On paper, Apple’s Airpods Max design gives the impression of comfort, but it’s the complete opposite in practice. I couldn’t wear the headphones for more than two to three hours at a time before my ears would start to throb from the pressure. I also had to constantly readjust the canopy and put it back in place because it had a tendency to inch backwards little by little.

The pressure that comes with wearing over-ear headphones is usually caused by the headband. But with the Airpods Max, it’s actually the ear cups — they’re too big for my ears.

The only solution that slightly worked was to wear my hair down, which acted as somewhat of a buffer between my ears and the ear cups. It’s an easy fix (if you’ve got the locks), but for a pair of headphones that cost almost 600, I shouldn’t have to go out of my way to find a workaround for a comfortable fit.

If anything, Apple should’ve offered these in multiple sizes. Similar to the way the Airpods Pro come with a variety of silicone tips for the right fit, perhaps Apple could’ve offered the option to choose between different-sized ear cups to fit heads big and small.

I have one question about the Smart Case: Why?

This deserves its own section particularly because it has to be said: The Smart Case is possibly the dumbest thing Apple has ever designed.

Since the Airpods Max aren’t collapsible (another disappointing factor), you have no other choice than to store them as is in the Smart Case. It has a built-in magnet within each ear-cup’s (over-the-shoulder boulder) holder that detects when the headphones are placed inside, automatically switching them into ultra-low power mode to save battery.

Now, you might be asking: Why can’t you turn them off? Well, reader, that’s because the Airpods Max don’t have a power button. Nope. The headphones are always on even when you’re not wearing them.

They mimic the same behavior as the standard Airpods: Much like how you place Apple’s Airpods into the case whenever you’re done using them, the Airpods Max are supposed to be placed in their Smart Case. And that’d make sense if the case also doubled as a charger. but it doesn’t.

At 550, the Airpods Max are the most expensive handbag I’ve ever owned.

It’s exhausting to take them in and out of the case numerous times a day, and it also looks and feels ridiculous. The case is not compact enough to fit into my crossbody bag either, and carrying them like a purse outside is annoying. It’s also really anxiety-inducing to carry these in public out of fear that someone is going to easily swipe them from my hands.

As for battery life, Apple claims the Airpods Max get up to 20 hours on a single charge across the board. So that means talk time, listening time with active noise cancellation or transparency mode turned on, and movie playback with spatial audio. There’s also an LED status indicator that glows green when battery life is above 15 percent and then switches to amber if it’s below that.

It’s not a charging case, but at least you can charge the headphones while they’re in the case? Credit: zlata ivleva / mashable

While I can’t say I’ve worn these for 20 hours straight, I have yet to reach low battery. On a busier day of use, I had the Airpods Max on intermittently (putting them down on my desk every once in a while) and was at about 80 percent after three hours. So I can easily say you’ll get a full day’s use out of these headphones, especially if you commit to placing them in the Smart case.

Seamless connectivity and intuitive controls

If there’s one thing I’ve always appreciated about Apple, it’s the no-hassle connectivity to its ecosystem of devices. The minute I unboxed the Airpods Max, a pop-up appeared on my iPhone 12 mini notifying me the headphones were automatically connected. From there, they would swap back and forth between my MacBook and iPhone, depending on which one I was using for audio.

apple, airpods, release, date

As for the physical controls on the headphones, there aren’t much to them.

With the Digital Crown you can:

  • Rotate to raise or lower the volume
  • Press once to play, pause, or answer a call
  • Press twice to skip playback forward on audio and three times to skip back
  • Press and hold for Siri (additionally, you can also trigger the voice assistant by saying Hey, Siri out loud)

Then, there’s the noise control button which allows you to toggle between noise cancellation and transparency mode with a single press. And rather than having to manually pause your music, you can simply lift up an ear cup or take the headphones off, and the Airpods will recognize the movement and stop the audio.

You can customize both the crown and the noise control button via Settings. Credit: screenshot / Apple

Since I’m constantly connected to all of my devices in quarantine, I barely used the physical controls. Instead, I opted for the control center on my MacBook or haptic touch on my iPhone to adjust volume or swap between noise modes. If I were commuting or traveling a lot more — with my iPhone usually tucked away in my bag or — I’d certainly rely on the on-device controls a lot more.

Audio quality receives a seal of approval

I’m no audiophile, but I was still impressed with the Airpods Max, especially coming from the second-generation Airpods. Both music and podcasts sound a lot fuller and richer than they do with the earbuds. If the Airpods Max weren’t so uncomfortable to wear for longer periods of time, I’d prefer them to the standard Airpods. And that’s a lot coming from me because I love Apple’s precious buds.

Noise cancellation worked super well for me, too. It did a good job of drowning out the very loud radiator in my room and the traffic outside my window. At one point, my roommate tried to talk to me from the entryway of my room and thought I was ignoring her because I couldn’t hear a thing.

Transparency mode was useful for when I was walking outside and wanted to make sure I could hear cars passing by, and also for those times at home when I was waiting on the buzzer to ring for food deliveries or packages.

The Airpods Max also come with a spatial audio feature that tracks which way you move your head to deliver a more immersive theater-like sound. It’s not all that revolutionary compared to simply listening to the audio on standard mode, but it’s certainly a nice touch for those who consume a lot of Netflix on a daily basis.

For an expert opinion on these headphones, however, I handed them over to Mashable’s resident audio reviewer, Alex Perry, to test out. His thoughts are below:

Though I only had a limited time to test the Airpods Max, I came away pretty happy with the audio output. The best over-ear headphones make you feel like you’re immersed within whatever you’re listening to — almost as if you’re in the recording studio with the musicians. And that’s what you get here. Subtle instruments at the back of the audio mix don’t get flattened out even at high volume, the bass is appropriately thumpy, and the noise cancellation does its job. If price wasn’t an issue, I would gladly use them over the excellent Bose NC700s that I wear every day.

To cap off his thoughts, Perry said: They get my not-a-real-audiophile-but-still-appreciates-good-audio seal of approval. And as someone who falls under that exact category, I’d say we’re both on the same page about how these sound.

If the headphones fit. wear ’em

When it comes down to it, the Airpods Max check off almost all the boxes for what makes an excellent pair of headphones: great sound quality, ideal battery life, easy controls, and a stylish design (sans Smart Case).

8 FAKE AirPod Max Headphones

The only boxes left unchecked are the ones dealing with comfort because, again, these headphones are way too big — for me at least. I can’t help but think that had Apple simply offered a smaller size, it could’ve delivered a home run for those of us with small heads and eyeglasses.

apple, airpods, release, date

And there’s also the ridiculous price.

apple, airpods, release, date

At 550, the Airpods Max are the most expensive handbag I’ve ever owned. As I sit here and think about all the things I could purchase with that much money, it almost pains me to recommend these — no matter how good they are.

But if you’ve been holding out for a pair of over-ear headphones from Apple specifically for the seamless connectivity to the rest of your devices, and they fit you comfortably, then you can’t go wrong.

As for me, my tiny head will stick to the standard Airpods for that lightweight, pain-free listening experience. That is, until Apple decides to release some smaller ear cups.

Look Out, Airpods Max: Leak Claims Cheaper Apple Headphones Are Almost Here

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Apple’s Airpods range includes the sumptuous over-ears, Airpods Max. But there’s no sign yet of a second-generation model. However, Apple’s other headphone brand, Beats, may be on the brink of releasing its first over-ear headphones in more than five years.

According to 9to5Mac, Beats Studio Pro headphones are on the horizon. Here’s what we think we know.

Big Audio Improvements

According to source which the publication has been reliable in the past, the next Beats Studio Pro will have custom 40mm drivers which will eliminate distortion even when the volume is turned up high.

But it’s the Beats spec sheet for the headphones, which 9to5Mac claims to have got hold of, which says there will be an 80% increase in audio fidelity compared to Beats Studio3.

This will also mean it “optimizes the final frequency response for a powerful, yet balanced sound profile crafted to bring out the subtle details of whatever you’re listening to,” it’s claimed.

Packed With Features

Well, it’s no surprise to find that active noise-cancelling is on board—it would have been surprising if it hadn’t—but we’re also promised Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Transparency mode, which are key Apple features. Spatial Audio will also include dynamic head tracking and support for Personalized Spatial Audio. This is one of Apple’s latest features and can make a palpable difference to what your ears hear, customizing it according to photos you take of your ears with an iPhone. It means you can create a custom audio profile.

Better Battery Life

This is cool: compared to Airpods Max, the new Beats could have longer battery life, up to 24 hours with ANC or Transparency mode turned on, where the Airpods Max have 20 hours. Beats is apparently also saying that with ANC off, this could go up to 40 hours between charges.

Release Date And Price

According to 9to5Mac, the new headphones will cost 349. This makes sense as it matches the price of the Beats Studio3, though personally I wouldn’t be surprised if the sticker price creeps up a little for including the word Pro in the title. We’ll see.

And the word is that they’ll be released on July 19, 2023, so less than a month away. This nugget came from Myke Hurley on Relay FM’s Connected podcast. Even if it’s not the exact date, it suggests that the Beats Studio Pro are almost here.

I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am routinely struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to persistent repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a part in the fourth series of The Crown.

I’ve written for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3.lint, and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or : @davidphelan2009.

The Airpods Max Is Apple’s Best Product In Years

In all of my years as an Apple consumer, from that Macintosh my family bought in 1984 until today, I have never known the brand to under-hype a new product launch. Subtlety is not an Apple quality; last autumn’s launch event for the iPhone 13 series was an eighty-minute multi-million dollar cinema spectacular that boiled down to “smaller notch, kind of.” (And that shit worked! There’s a 13 Pro at my side right now!) Hype is at Apple’s core, whether or not the situation warrants it.

That’s why I’m a little stunned that I haven’t seen wall-to-wall ads or media coverage of what is their best new product in ages. Apple’s Airpods Max are their over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, the top of the Airpods line, released in December of 2020 to what must have been some kind of fanfare that I missed. I’m using a new Apple product, it’s immediately indispensable, and it feels like I’m keeping a secret. What the hell’s going on here?

Apple may not be hyping these boys, but I sure will. Here’s why you need a pair.

They’re actually comfortable on your head.

Like anyone who travels a decent amount, I’m always on the hunt for a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. I’ve been through my share of Bose and Sony numbers, I’ve been left with sore and sweaty ears, and I’ve accepted that as my fate. The pads on the Airpods Max—mesh, over a legitimately comfy memory foam cushion—create a good seal around my ears, while leaving them cool and dry. With a soft mesh canopy, these are the first headphones I can wear for a full cross-country flight without pulling off to give my head a break. Once I can fly without a mask tugging on the backs of my ears, it’s really going to be a party.

They put you in your own little world.

That noise-canceling is top notch. Where most comparable headphones have that faint hiss of white noise, the Airpods Max are legitimately quiet. Six external microphones and two inward-facing ones work together to measure the sound around you. Each ear cup contains an H1 chip equipped with 10 audio cores that sense the Max’s seal and fit to block outside noise. I have no idea what that means, but I can say that when I did briefly take them off in the middle of a recent flight, I realized something I hadn’t noticed in decades of air travel: airplanes are deafening. I’ve never had a headphone that could stand up against that level of ambient noise, but the Airpods Max block it out entirely. (As with the Airpods Pro, there’s also a “transparency” setting, in case you need to stay clued into the environment around you.)

And that world is fully immersive, and you can stay there for ages.

The sound is impressively crisp, even at high volumes, particularly when you’re listening to songs Apple Music has enhanced with Dolby Atmos. Apple is experimenting with spatial audio, a feature which uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to track your head movements and sense your position relative to your audio device. Play music from the iPad in front of you, turn your head left, and the music appears to concentrate itself into your right ear. Turn right and the music goes left. Get up and move and the music stays with you while still sounding like it’s anchored to the Apple device. Was this a feature we needed? I don’t know! But it sure does make that new Tears for Fears album a fully immersive experience.

The battery power far exceeds the traditional Airpods with 20 hours of playback—even with all the fancy features enabled—to the Airpods Pro’s 4.5. An included soft case puts the Max right into a power-saving mode when you’re not using them, but they’ll put themselves into that mode after a few minutes anyway.

The only problem I can see with the Airpods Max is the expense: these bois will run you 549 at full price (they are currently on sale at Amazon for 479, linked in this post), around double what I’m used to spending on a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones. But these are not only better than what I’ve bought in the past, the stainless steel frame also makes them sturdier. As someone who goes through a pair of headphones a year, I can say it’s an investment worth making.

The Airpods Max sound exponentially better than any noise-canceling headphones I’ve ever used, and feel much more like I’m not wearing headphones at all. They’re a far bigger leap forward than the iPhone 13 was from the 12, yet they’re out in the world with far less awareness.

Here’s a thing you never think you’ll hear yourself say: Apple, make some noise!