The fashion and tech worlds aren't exactly synonymous, but if there's one gadget that's become quite the status symbol, it's Apple's AirPods. The tiny in-ear versions, that is. AirPods Max, enormous in both size and price, haven't been around long enough to achieve ubiquity in the streets. But a newly discovered design surprise could soon help them stand out in a crowd.
Until now, AirPods Max weren't known for their customisability – choose from one of five colours and you're done. But a recent teardown has revealed that the headband is unexpectedly simple to remove, leading to speculation about future swappable designs.
The teardown by Chinese YouTube channel PreLook revealed that the AirPods Max headband can be removed simply by inserting a sim card ejector tool (the same as you'll find in your iPhone box) into a tiny hole at the top of each headphone cup. Indeed, watching the process in action (below), there's an unmistakeable sense that the headband was designed to be swapped easily.
Pretty cool pic.twitter.com/C0cfQyZ72kJanuary 19, 2021
For AirPods Max owners, this could be exciting news for two reasons. Firstly, it suggests that if the either headband or cups were to become damaged, these modular elements could potentially be replaced without the need to buy a whole new pair of AirPods Max (which, at $549/£549, wouldn't be ideal).
But perhaps more excitingly, it could suggest that AirPods Max might soon become a lot more customisable. Much like the plethora of official and unofficial Apple Watch straps available, could we soon see a ton of swappable AirPods Max headbands or cups sold separately? With the right colour combination, perhaps you'll soon be able to make your AirPods Max look as eye-popping (or garish) as you choose.
I’d love to see an AirPods Max Studio arrive in the future that allows for custom headband, cushions, and ear cup combinations.What’s your dream combo? pic.twitter.com/WfqH4nPqQIJanuary 19, 2021
Whether Apple itself is planning to let users mix-and-match headbands and cups remains to be seen. Right now, you'll need to shell out for multiple pairs of AirPods Max if you want to swap colours. Which, depending how you look at it, is either utterly ludicrous, or the ultimate status symbol. (We're in the former camp, by the way.)
Still, even if customisable colours could help make AirPods Max pop, that horrendous Smart Case is still going to look like, well, that horrendous Smart Case. You can't win them all. Check out today's best AirPods deals below, and head over to our best Apple deals page for more offers across the Apple range.