This week, Apple finally announced its over-the-ear headphones, the AirPods Max. They seem really nice, with an old-school build. They have a stainless steel design with a breathable knit mesh canopy headband. The squarish cushions are easy to replace.
The new headphones have many of the features of the AirPods Pro, including the simple instant connection, active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and the new spatial simulated sound, which really sounds quite good and realistic. There is one big difference: The AirPods Pro can be purchased for as low as $179, while the AirPods Max will cost….are you ready…..$549!
As you can guess, not everybody is happy. Rick Broida from CNET lists all of the combination of other products you can buy instead – an Oculus Quest 2 + Nintendo Switch Lite plus + a Soundcore Life Q20, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones + Apple AirPods Pro + six months of HBO Max, or seven Amazon Echo smart speakers + Aukey EP-N5 wireless earbuds.
Michael Simon of MacWorld thinks the AirPods Max are way overpriced, even if they offer audiophile quality sound.
“But at $549, it’s hard to look at the AirPods Pro Max as anything other than a missed opportunity. We knew they wouldn’t come cheap, but AirPods Max are hundreds more than their closest competitor and are arriving pretty late to the game bringing features we’ve seen and heard before.”
He adds the fact that true audiophiles usually don’t even want wireless headphones. He does, however, mention the possibility of Apple releasing cheaper over-the-ear headphones next year.
No matter how many complaints about the price, it appears that the AirPods Max is an early hit. According to Mashable, Apple’s latest headset is sold out for the rest of the year.
“At the time of writing [one day ago], the headphones ship in 12–14 weeks in the U.S., no matter which color you choose. That means there’s no chance of getting these in time for Christmas — in fact, you’ll be lucky to get them before March, even if you order right now,” writes author Stan Shroeder.
So far, there haven’t been any major reviews for the headphones. But Apple knows what they are doing. Remember all the complaints about the price for the Apple Watch? The iPad? Perhaps Apple truly has produced a groundbreaking set of over-the-ear headphones, and we’ll certainly find out next week if they justify the price.