It was only a matter of time tbh. Since Apple has started down the road of becoming an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, they’ve been slowly perfecting their audio experience. Remember when you bought an iPod and then iPhone you would get the same pair of standard-issue white dangly headphones? That same same technologic innovation lasted years and years, but then Apple bought Beats by Dre and then all of a sudden they had headphones sorted (plus they got the initial architecture for their Apple Music platform). The cross-brand integration never came to be in the way we expected, in that you open your new iPhone and you get a pair of Beats in the box. Sad. But then about three years ago Apple announced their first new design in their own proprietary earbud tech, in the form of the Apple AirPods, and the rest is textbook.

Last week Apple announced the launch of their 3rd generation of innovative wireless Airpods with the AirPods Max. Other than the moniker the new Max are completely different than the previous two generations of the AirPods, the first being that there are designed to be worn over-ear, as “headphones,” as opposed to earbuds πŸ™ƒ. The differences continue with the AirPods Max coming in an almost unApple-like five colours, with slim Smart Case, including space gray, silver, green, sky blue, and pink.

 

To get the music audio experience from a set of headphones Apple has reconceptualized the generations-old design of over-ear headphones. From the breathable knit mesh canopy on the top of the headband to the acoustically engineered memory foam ear cushion, everything has been thought-out. The Digital Crown knobby, inspired by Apple Watch, and sits within easy reach on top of the right ear allows for volume control, to start and stop audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri. Each ear cup has an Apple-designed H1 chip which in conjunction with the advanced software, and the custom acoustic design delivers a high-quality listening experience.

 

When it all comes down to it, it is the audio experience that matters, and after giving it a go for the last couple of days the AirPods Max delivers. The Adaptive EQ technology continuously adjusts the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered in real-time. The Active Noise Cancellation had us yelling at each other from across the room. From our preliminary tests, they appear to work better than the AirPods Pro. Honestly, though we can’t wait to really test them out on a plane… one day. Transparency Mode, is similar to that on the AirPods Pro allowing you to simultaneously listen to audio while still being able to hear around you. Finally, Spatial Audio allows you to experience a type of surround sound by utilizing the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad. All of which adds to the audio experience you are looking for. It’s worth mentioning here that the battery life is pretty great. Apple suggests that each full charge can get up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback, but we can’t confirm that.

It’s safe to say that overall the Apple AirPods Max is a top-level audio product. The only thing that really isn’t great about the new Max is the price, especially here in Canada. Clocking in at $779 CAD, after taxes they cost almost $900 for a set of headphones. Great headphones mind you, but still. However, if you care about your audio experience both at home or on the go, these are the headphones for you.

The Apple AirPods Max are officially available today, Tuesday, December 15 at Apple.