Apple Unveils First Over-Ear Headphones

Better sound and a more immersive experience await.

By Martin Lerma 09/12/2020

Apple is stepping up its audio game.

The tech giant’s AirPods may be ubiquitous, but the flagship wireless in-ear headphones certainly have their downsides––namely a lack of noise cancellation and audio quality that leaves much to be desired. The AirPods Max may just be the answer. Designed with an over-ear configuration, they were engineered to produce not only a superior listening experience but also a significantly more comfortable one.

Starting from within, a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver delivers bass, middle and high ranges. A dual neodymium ring magnet motor keeps distortion at less than 1 per cent overall, even when the volume is turned up to the max, so your favourite tunes will sound like they’re supposed to. And all of this is enhanced by an in-house H1 chip with enough power for a range of different modes, including Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio to mimic the immersive in-person sound.

Apple AirPods Max Over-ear Headphones

The new design fits over the ear and sports a comfortable mesh knit canopy. Apple

Each ear cushion uses acoustically engineered memory foam, which is meant to help provide a meaningful seal between you and the noise of the outside world.

While over-ear headphones are known for providing superior sound, they can also be cumbersome and, dare we say it, uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. And while we haven’t tried the new AirPods Max, Apple says it has invested a lot of time and effort in the ergonomics of the new headphones. This starts with a canopy made from breathable mesh that reduces pressure but also aids in evenly distributing the weight of both ear cups. Each cup is attached to a special mechanism that allows it to independently pivot and rotate to best fit the unique contours of a wearer’s head. The Digital Crown, inspired by the Apple Watch, makes it easy to control volume, pause or play music, answer phone calls and even activate Siri.

When fully charged, every pair has up to 20 hours of playtime even with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio switched on. Plus, when they’re stashed in their slender smart case, they go into an ultra-low power mode that extends battery life when you’re taking a break from making calls or listening to music. Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are available for $899.

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