Apple has unveiled its long-awaited over-ear headphones – the AirPods Max –which will go on sale on December 15 with an eye-watering price tag of £549 ($549).
The wireless headphones are based on the technology behind the popular in-ear AirPods, first released in December 2016, but are worn over the ears instead.
Apple says the headphones have active noise cancellation to block out unwanted sounds from outside, as well as spatial audio and ‘adaptive EQ’ – which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear –for better quality.
They are available in five colours – space grey, silver, sky blue, green and pink.
AirPods Max start at £549 ($549), according to Apple, which puts it at a much higher price point than the rest of the line, with AirPods at £159 ($159) and AirPods Pro at £249 ($249).
The other major announcement from Apple is the launch date of its new Fitness+ streaming exercise service – launching on December 14 for £9.99 ($9.99) per month and including fitness videos for dance, core, yoga and mindful cooldown.
The wireless headphones are based on the technology behind the popular AirPods earphones first released in December 2016, but can be worn over the ears instead
Apple says the headphones have active noise cancellation to block out unwanted sound from outside, as well as spatial audio and adaptive EQ for better quality
Apple claims the new headphones deliver the ‘ultimate personal listening experience’ by combing custom acoustic design, with hardware and software.
At £549 this puts the Apple AirPods Max at the upper end of the price bracket for noise cancelling over-ear headphones.
In comparison some of the top headphones on the market include £349 ($349) for the Sony WH-1000XM4 and £339 ($339) for the Sennheiser Momentum 3.
You can also pay £229 ($249) for the Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 and £159 ($179) for the Apple-owned Beats Studio 3.
They require a device running iOS14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later and watchOS 7.2 or later to operate and setup.
They are available in five colours – space grey, silver, sky blue, green and pink but won’t be shipping until December 15, with prices starting at £549
Apple claims the new headphones deliver the ‘ultimate personal listening experience’ by combing custom acoustic design, with hardware and software
‘AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design,’ said Greg Joswiak, Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing.
‘With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,’ he added.
They include the H1 chip, which is featured in the newer generation versions of the AirPods and allows for a number of sensors and features within the device.
This includes automatic switching so users can ‘seamlessly move sound’ between the iPhone, iPad and Mac – as is already possible with the AirPods.
AirPods Max automatically detect when they are on a user’s head using the optical and position sensors and like removing one AirPod from your air – can pause the sound you are listening to when you move them off your head.
‘Once in place, AirPods Max play audio and can pause once removed or when the user simply lifts one ear cup,’ Apple said.
‘With AirPods Max, voice calls and Siri commands are crisp and clear due to beam-forming microphones that block out ambient noise and focus on the user’s voice.’
Apple says the design of the headphones have been created with the best listening experience in mind – ‘from the canopy to the ear cushions’.
They come with a soft case that can charge the headphones when not being worn
They require a device running iOS14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later and watchOS 7.2 or later to operate and setup
On your head will be a breathable knit mesh canopy, spanning the headband, designed to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure.
APPLE FITNESS+ STREAMING SERVICE TO LAUNCH ON DECEMBER 14
Apple’s hotly anticipated Fitness+ streaming exercise service will launch on December 14, the firm confirmed.
The service has been designed around the Apple Watch but is also available for iPad, iPhone and macOS.
It will launch with 10 of the most popular workout types, including:
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, Cycling, Treadmill (for running and walking), Rowing, and Mindful Cooldown.
It also includes an intelligent recommendation engine that considers workouts previously completed in other apps.
This includes apps in Fitness+, the Apple Watch Workout app, and third-party fitness apps.
Each week, Fitness+ delivers new content across all workout types with a variety of trainers, times, and music.
With Activity Sharing, users can allow friends and family to see Fitness+ workouts completed, and workouts can also be shared to their favourite social media channels.
Fitness+ will be available as a subscription service for
£9.99 ($9.99) per month or £79.99 ($79.99) per year. It is also available as part of the Premier Apple One subscription for £29.95 per month.
The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes, according to the firm.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a ‘revolutionary 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.
They are made from memory foam to create a better seal around the ear for ‘delivering immersive sound’.
There is also a ‘digital crown’ inspired by the one on the Apple Watch that can give more precise volume control, allow users to play, pause and skip tracks as well as activate Siri and answer phone calls.
‘AirPods Max feature a 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension so every note can be heard,’ Apple said in a press release.
AirPods Max use computational audio to deliver the highest quality listening experience possible, according to the company, using each of the 10 audio cores on the chip to make 9 billion operations per second.
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 for more effective noise cancellation.
‘Using computational audio, noise cancellation continuously adapts to the headphone fit and movement in real time.’
You can also turn on a feature called ‘transparency mode’ that lets you listen in to the sound around you while also listening to music or audiobooks.
They also feature a technology called spatial audio that tracks head movement and keeps the sound anywhere in a space to deliver a more immersive, theatre like experience, according to Apple.
Apple is also launching its new fitness streaming service – Fitness+. It will be available to subscribers from Monday December 14 at £9.99 per month.
Fitness+ brings studio-style workouts to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, ‘intelligently incorporating workout metrics from Apple Watch’ for a first-of-its-kind personalized and immersive experience users can complete wherever and whenever.
Each ear cup attaches to the headband through a ‘revolutionary 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
The other major announcement from Apple is the launch date of its new Fitness+ streaming exercise service – launching on December 14 and including fitness videos for dance, core, yoga, HIIT, treadmill, rowing and mindful cooldown
The workout types include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, Cycling, Treadmill (for running and walking), Rowing, and Mindful Cooldown, led by a expert trainers.
‘Being more active is one of the most important things we can do for our health, but we know choosing to work out can often be a challenge whether you’re very active or just getting started,’ said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of Fitness Technologies.
‘We’re excited for Apple Fitness+ to bring together the metrics from Apple Watch, great music, and a diverse and inspiring trainer team — in a uniquely simple, easy-to-access way across Apple devices — to encourage our users to get fit and stay healthy.’