AirPods Max Announced Three Years Ago Today

Apple's AirPods Max were announced three years ago today, marking the company's first push into the high-end over-ear headphones market under its own brand name.

AirPods Max 3 Years Feature 1 Red
Rumors about Apple's work on a pair of high-end headphones, at the time believed to be called the "AirPods Studio," heated up throughout 2020. They were announced abruptly via a somewhat unexpected press release on December 8, 2020 and went on sale the same day. Orders started arriving to customers one week later on Tuesday, December 15.

The ‌AirPods Max‌ offer many popular AirPods features such as the H1 chip, easy pairing, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency, automatic switching, Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, but in a premium over-ear design for the first time. They also offer a headband made of a flexible mesh canopy, replaceable magnetic earcups, a Digital Crown for volume control, a button for switching between ANC and Transparency, and a Smart Case for storage and to put the headphones into a low power state.

Demand for the ‌AirPods Max‌ was high immediately after launch, with shipping estimates that stretched out several months. Initial reviews of AirPods Max were favorable, applauding the headphones for being "more than enough to compete with other high-end headphones." While the recommended retail price remains at $549, the ‌AirPods Max‌ are often available with discounts of over $100.

The ‌AirPods Max‌ have also been subject to criticism since their launch, including for their price relative to rival sets of high-end over-ear headphones, the design of the Smart Case, condensation inside the earcups, poor battery life (something that was later fixed via a software update), and ANC strength being reduced over time.

While the ‌‌AirPods Max‌‌ are now three years old, the next-generation may only introduce a small number of upgrades consisting of a USB-C port, Bluetooth 5.3, and new color options.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Caution)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

sunapple Avatar
11 weeks ago

I am surprised Apple still has this product for sale. The Beats Studio Pro is so much better.
Not having tried the Beats I can safely say this comment is false.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
javanate Avatar
11 weeks ago
Needs to support lossless, have usbc, new case, and function with cord and no battery.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustAnExpat Avatar
11 weeks ago
I am surprised Apple still has this product for sale. The Beats Studio Pro is so much better.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wizard_of_Woz Avatar
11 weeks ago

I haven’t seen a single person use these in public in those 3 years.
You need to get out more! ?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jmovie Avatar
11 weeks ago
I love my AirPods Max. While all of these criticisms are fine, I think most of them don’t really apply. They feel great, they sound great, most of you could never tell the difference between lossless and otherwise, it’s an excellent product, one of my favorites, every single time I put them on.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
urahara Avatar
11 weeks ago
I had AirPod Max - broken within 20 months.

After that I chose Sony MX-1000-M5 thanks to their much superior voice isolation and background voice reduction. My counterpart on the call can hear me so much clearer and more natural than on Apple.
I am actually surprised how much better Sony MX-1000-M5 is than AirPod Max in this regard.
Looks like Apple dropped a ball here.

I had 2 Beats in-ear pairs - both broken within 12-18 months.
And I still consider AirPods Pro as in ears. Am I crazy for still wanting headphones from Apple?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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