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

Move over, in-ear AirPods.


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.” 


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.”


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