Apple Unveils $549 AirPods Max  Over-Ear Headphones Available on Dec. 15

Move over, in-ear AirPods.
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Apple dropped a bit of a bombshell on AirPods fans on Tuesday by revealing the all-new AirPods Max—over-ear, noise-canceling, $549 headphones. These are the first headphones of this kind to bear the Apple logo.

The AirPods Max is available in five colorways: space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. Apple says they come with a "custom acoustic design" which will provide "rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard.” 

These aren't exactly pods in appearance, of course, but Apple has made sure features first found in the in-ear Airpods are available as well. These include:

  • Adaptive EQ 
  • Transparency mode, spatial audio
  • Audio sharing
  • Digital Crown not that different from the Apple Watch crown, with similar controls
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Telescoping headband arms to allow adjustments for a perfect fit.

The crown, according to Apple, will offer "precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri." 

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Apple describes the headband's "breathable knit mesh canopy" as a feature "made to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure." 

The ear cups have been designed to "independently pivot and rotate to fit the unique contours of a user’s head" via a "revolutionary mechanism that balances and distributes ear cup pressure."

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The AirPods Max have a superb battery life of 20 hours but oddly, Apple chose to double down on its lightning connector here as well, once again avoiding use of the industry-standard USB-C. Maxes also come with a smart case that allows them to go into a low-power state for better battery life.

A pair of killer over-ear headphones is notable enough, but another recent Apple move spotted by Hypebeast is almost as interesting—the company filed a patent for a cool matte black finish to use on a wide range of devices. It is described as having "randomly distributed light-absorbing features that are capable of absorbing visible light" and could be used on a wide variety of metal alloys. 

What Apple might do with that patent remains to be seen but plenty of old-school users would welcome an opportunity to purchase a sleek-looking black MacBook.

As for the Airpods Max—they retail for $549, are available to preorder today, and will start shipping on December 15 on Apple.com.