Apple Announces AirPods Max Over-Ear Headphones With Noise Cancellation, Priced at $549

Apple today introduced new wireless over-ear headphones called AirPods Max, with key features including high-fidelity audio, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio. Priced at $549, the headphones can be ordered starting today on Apple.com and in the Apple Store app, with availability beginning December 15.

airpods max b
AirPods Max come in five colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. Apple says the headphones feature a "breathable knit mesh" spanning the headband that distributes weight to reduce on-head pressure.


Apple says the ear cups have acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal, and the telescoping stainless steel headband arms smoothly extend and then stay in place to maintain the desired fit on your head.

airpods max colors
AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that is said to provide "rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension." Each ear cup is equipped with Apple's H1 chip for "computational audio" to deliver the "highest quality listening experience possible," according to Apple.

Similar to the Apple Watch, AirPods Max feature a Digital Crown on one ear cup for precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri voice control. There's also a noise control button for switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, which lets some outside sound in so you can interact naturally with your surroundings.

airpods max digital crown
AirPods Max feature up to 20 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled — fine print reveals that Apple had volume set to 50% during its testing. Apple says a five-minute charge delivers 1.5 hours of listening time.

As with other AirPods models, AirPods Max have one-tap setup and automatic pairing with all the devices signed in to a user's iCloud account, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. AirPods Max have built-in optical and position sensors that automatically detect when the headphones are on someone's head. Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed, or when the user lifts one ear cup.

Apple's announcement provides more details on audio features:

- Adaptive EQ: AirPods Max use Adaptive EQ to adjust the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to a user and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time — bringing rich audio that captures every detail.

- Active Noise Cancellation: AirPods Max deliver immersive sound through Active Noise Cancellation so users can focus on what they are listening to. Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener's ear. Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.

- Transparency Mode: With AirPods Max, users can switch to Transparency mode to simultaneously listen to music while hearing the environment around them — ensuring everything, including a user's own voice, sounds natural while audio plays perfectly. Switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode can be done with a single press using the noise control button.

- Spatial Audio: AirPods Max use spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space — delivering an immersive, theaterlike experience for content recorded in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos. 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.

For phone calls and Siri commands, beam-forming microphones help to block out ambient noise and focus on the user's voice.

AirPods Max come with a carrying case called the "Smart Case" and a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box. Apple says the Smart Case puts the AirPods Max in an ultra-low power state that helps to preserve battery charge when not in use.

AirPods Max are launching in the United States and more than 25 other countries and regions, with shipments set to begin arriving to customers on Tuesday, December 15. AirPods Max can be ordered on Apple.com starting today.

More Coverage

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

ParaShot Avatar
6 weeks ago
550$ wait what? For a headphone? WAIT WHAT !?
Score: 172 Votes (Like | Disagree)
marine0816 Avatar
6 weeks ago
$549?

LoL
Score: 125 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dszakal Avatar
6 weeks ago
I'm okay with the price tag.

But if and only if it's lossless on Wireless (at least 44khz 16 bit without any lossy compression, as I'll use it with Tidal)

But if for this price tag I get a 256kbps AAC recompression as with the standard airpods, then no, thanks, I wouldn't even buy for $100.
Score: 90 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LarrySW Avatar
6 weeks ago
Now Bose 700s and Sony XM4's look cheap by comparison price wise
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
6 weeks ago
FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS?

AND IT DOESNT EVEN HAVE A KEYBOARD -Steve Ballmer (probably)

Press photos show each ear cushion labeled with the correct L and R side. So the rumors suggesting it would determine which ear is left and right was wrong.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cscottrun Avatar
6 weeks ago
A lot of Apple products seem overpriced but this one definitely takes the cake for me. Wow.
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...