When Apple titled last month's M1 Mac event 'One more thing', you'd be forgiven for thinking the company would only be announcing, you know, one more thing. As it happens, it had one more one more thing up its sleeve: AirPods Max, revealed via a press release today.
The larger, over-ear headphones have been rumoured for a while. Featuring wireless connectivity, spatial audio and Apple's H1 chip, AirPods Max are available on 15 December – for a very (very) high price. At $549/£549, we certainly hope they'll prove to be an investment sound enough for our best wireless headphones list.
Whether AirPods Max sound attractive to you all depends on whether you're happy to drop half a grand on a set of cans. For your money, you naturally get a few features that are absent from the regular in-ear models. Apple has designed its own 40mm dynamic driver for the AirPods Max, which it says will offer (opens in new tab) "rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension".
And if you've ever wished you could control the volume of your AirPods by hand, you're finally in luck. Borrowing one of the Apple Watch's most well-known features, AirPods Max include a digital crown for "precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri".
As for the design, time will tell whether AirPods Max will enjoy the same level of ubiquity on the streets as its in-ear siblings. Gone is the iconic, tiny, all-white design in favour of a naturally much larger shape. And AirPods Max even come in six different colours: space grey, silver, sky blue, green, and pink – the exact same colours as the new iPad Air.
If we're not entirely convinced by the design of the AirPods Max themselves, we're utterly baffled by that of their charging 'Smart Case' (above). The shape resembles, well, lots of things, from handbags to body parts. And Twitter, as Twitter does best, has begun piling on the new product.
new airpods max case looks exactly like my helmut lang bra purse pic.twitter.com/pRFwUW3LP9December 8, 2020
AirPods Max Smart Case and Oculus Quest 2 pic.twitter.com/gAhDrpE8irDecember 8, 2020
The AirPods Max case really be looking like a expensive af sleeping mask pic.twitter.com/XvDFTWklZ2December 8, 2020
The AirPods Max case is more useful than I thought 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Yv3twE8kLyDecember 8, 2020
It's an arse shaped handbagDecember 8, 2020
In a year of frankly bizarre Apple design decisions, from the ugly MagSafe charging case to the practically useless iPhone 12 leather wallet, the AirPods Max Smart Case still manages to look pretty far out. We suspect the memes will continues for a good while yet.
That said, Apple's original AirPods were widely mocked on release in 2016, with many comparing their own charging case to objects such as dental floss dispensers – but as we all know, Apple had the last laugh there. If AirPods Max prove to be anywhere near as popular as its predecessors, Apple will no doubt be laughing all the way to the bank once again.
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