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Apple has revealed the latest model in its AirPods line, the AirPods Max, employ an over-ear design and feature custom acoustic design, H1 chips, and advanced software that offers Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
AirPods Max have a breathable knit mesh canopy spanning the headband that is designed to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure. The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes, says Apple. Telescoping headband arms, meanwhile, smoothly extend and stay in place to maintain the desired fit.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a mechanism that balances and distributes ear cup pressure and allows it to independently pivot and rotate to fit the unique contours of a user’s head. Each ear cushion uses acoustically engineered memory foam to create an effective seal in order to deliver immersive sound. The Digital Crown, inspired by Apple Watch, offers precise volume control and the ability to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri.
AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension. A dual neodymium ring magnet motor allows AirPods Max to maintain total harmonic distortion of less than 1% across the entire audible range, even at maximum volume, Apple says.
Adaptive EQ adjusts the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered to a user and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time. Active Noise Cancellation, meanwhile, lets you focus on the audio. Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching the listener’s ear. Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time. Switch to Transparency Mode by pressing the noise control button to simultaneously listen to music while hearing the environment around you. — ensuring everything, including a user’s own voice, sounds natural while audio plays perfectly.
AirPods Max use spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds virtually anywhere in a space. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in AirPods Max and iPhone or iPad, spatial audio tracks the motion of your head as well as the device, compares the motion data, then remaps the sound field so it stays anchored to the device, even as your head moves.
Like other models in the AirPods line, you can set them up easily with one tap and automatic pairing with any device signed in to your iCloud account, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
AirPods Max automatically detect when they are on your head using the optical and position sensors. Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when you lift one ear cup. Voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear, says Apple, due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on a user’s voice.
AirPods Max can run for up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. They come with a soft, slim Smart Case that puts them in an ultralow power state that helps preserve battery charge when not in use.
Additional features include automatic switching among Apple devices; audio sharing to share a stream of audio between two sets of AirPods on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV 4K; and Siri voice control, including the ability to hear incoming messages as they arrive with Announce Messages with Siri.
AirPods Max come in five colour options: space grey, silver, sky blue, green, and pink. They are available to order and will start shipping on Tuesday, December 15. They start at $779 and require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later. Personal engraving can be added for free on the Apple website and in the Apple Store app.