Apple unveiled the AirPods Max on Tuesday: its first-ever set of over-the-ear headphones, and the highest-end model in the popular AirPods line.
Apple's swanky new headphones have a sleek, stylish design, high-quality internals, and an equally high price tag at $549.
With a scheduled launch just days away, here's everything we know about Apple's newest device:
AirPods Max are a major design departure from Apple's earbud-style wireless AirPods.
Most obviously, they're over-the-ear headphones rather than earbud-style headphones. But even among comparable products from other companies, Apple's new AirPods Max stand out.
Perhaps most notably, from a visuals perspective, is the "breathable knit mesh canopy" that makes up the band. Unlike the solid bands on most over-the-ear headphones, Apple's AirPods Max has a kind of Aeron office chair-style fabric held taut between two thinner posts.
Moving to the earphones themselves, Apple seemingly took design cues directly from its Watch: The "crown," as well as the Tic Tac-shaped button, appear to have been pulled directly from the Apple Watch.
Think of the AirPods Max as the highest-end version of the AirPods line. They offer much of the same functionality, albeit in a larger, better sounding package.
Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak said the intention with the new AirPods Max is to evoke "that magical AirPods experience" in an over-the-ear headset.
They feature a lot of the same functionality that AirPods users already enjoy. Apple detailed as much in the announcement on Tuesday morning:
1. AirPods Max pair most easily with Apple devices, which automatically recognize their presence when logged in through iCloud. This includes "iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV," Apple said.
2. Like how AirPods know they're in your ear, AirPods Max "automatically detect when they are on a user's head." You can set them to automatically pause if you remove the headphones, or even "when the user simply lifts one ear cup."
3. Beyond using the headphones for listening to audio, they can also be used with Siri and as a means of making/receiving phone calls (when paired with compatible Apple devices).
Beyond those features, Apple says that its new headphones are "the highest quality listening experience possible" in an Apple product.
The AirPods Max last for up to 20 hours of "high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback," the company said. That battery time includes the use of two key features: Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio.
Of note: Though Apple AirPods Max are intended for use with Apple devices, they are Bluetooth headphones capable of connecting via Bluetooth to non-Apple devices as well.
The AirPods Max have nine microphones, the vast majority of which are dedicated to noise cancellation. It's got a gaggle of motion sensors, so it knows to pause when you lift an ear cup (among other things), and two physical inputs: a "crown," which operates similarly to the crown on the Apple Watch, and a rounded rectangular button.
The button has one function: turning noise cancellation on and off.
The crown serves several purposes, according to Apple: It can be turned to control volume, pushed in to pause/play or answer the phone, double tapped to skip forward, triple tapped to skip back, and pushed and held for Siri.
At the heart of the headphones is Apple's H1 chip, which the AirPod Max has embedded in each ear cup (one per ear).
The initial debut of the AirPods Max is a five-color run: space gray, sky blue, green, pink, and silver.
Alongside the headphones themselves, Apple includes a charging cable (Lightning to USB-C) and a carrying case. The latter, Apple says, is a "soft, slim Smart Case" that puts the headphones into an "ultralow power state" intended to preserve your battery as long as possible.
As of Tuesday morning, Apple's online store had pre-orders available for the AirPods Max. The headphones cost $549, and Apple will engrave something on them at no additional cost.
The headphones are scheduled to launch on December 15.