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Apple reveals AirPods Max, the company's debut in over-ear headphones

Apple has today unveiled its much anticipated over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max.

The device brings over most features from Apple’s earbuds, the AirPods, and adds several more, including active noise cancelling and Adaptive EQ — as well as a very high price tag.

Retailing at NZ$999 and AU$899, Apple is marketing the AirPods Max as ‘the ultimate personal listening experience’, and its RRP establishes it as at the very top end of the market price-wise. 

Design-wise, The AirPods Max come with a ‘breathable’ knit mesh canopy which spans the headband, which Apple says is designed to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure.

The headband itself is stainless steel, and its ‘telescoping’ headband arms stay in place to maintain the desired fit.

The ear cushions are made from ‘acoustically engineered’ memory foam, which can pivot and rotate to suit different users’ heads. The device comes in five colours — space grey, silver, sky blue, green and pink.

In the audio department, Apple has outlined four specific features that ship with the AirPods Max:

Adaptive EQ

This adjusts sound to fit the seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal delivered, and adjusting the low and mid-frequencies. 

Active Noise Cancellation

As with any other mid-to-high range over-ear headphones in the market, the AirPods Max feature active noise cancelling. Six outward-facing microphones detect environmental noise, while two mics inside the ear cups detect the sound reaching the user’s ear.

Transparency Mode

The headphones feature a button which users can use to switch between full noise cancellation and the ability to hear the surrounding noise.

Spatial Audio

AirPods Max uses spatial audio with dynamic head tracking to place sounds ‘anywhere in a space’. This feature tracks the motion of a user’s head as well as the device, then compares the motion data, and then remaps the sound field accordingly.
 

The headphones also come with an H1 chip in each ear cup, as well as ten audio cores to deliver the above features.

The headphones feature the industry-standard 20 hours of battery life, with active noise cancelling and spatial audio enabled. They also come with a Smart Case, which puts the headphones into an ultra-low power state when not in use. 

The AirPods Max do not, however, ship with a USB power adaptor, as is Apple’s current standard.

The AirPods Max begin shipping in New Zealand and Australia, as well as 25 other countries and regions, on Tuesday 15 December.