Apple has just unveiled its brand new AirPods Max, they bost high-fidelity audio, a sleek design, the H1, Active Noise Cancellation, and more. But boy are they expensive. Whilst we must reserve judgment on the AirPods Max price until we've, you know, actually listened to them, here's a list of 10 things you could buy instead for $549, just to put the price into perspective. Just something to think about before you pre-order your AirPods Max.
1. Xbox Series X - $499
Xbox's brand new Series X console, sporting all of its next-generation goodness, is $499. For just $10 more than a Series X price, you could add a brand new triple-A title like Cyberpunk 2077.
2. PS5 - $499
At the same price, you could also pick up a PS5 instead, and as with the Series X, you'll have $50 to spend on a game or an accessory too.
3. Xbox Series S + AirPods Pro - $299.99 + $249.00
Perhaps the best value of the new generation, you can score the all-digital Xbox Series X with most of Xbox's next-gen improvements for just $300. That means you'd still have change from your $549 to pick up Apple's AirPods Pro, which still offer active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and Apple's H1 chip.
The AirPods Pro are noise-canceling true wireless earbuds that come with a charging case to keep them powered for more than 24 hours. Ahead of the holidays, Amazon is taking $50 off their regular price.
4. Most of an iPad Air - $599
Apple's brand new 2020 iPad Air is one of its greatest ever tablets, sporting the A14 chip, flashy new design, and more. AirPods Max are $549, which means for just $50 extra, you could squeeze and get Apple's best-ever tablet.
The iPad Air 2020 is available from $559 at Amazon, which is a $40 discount. That's the lowest we've seen it go there, though the deal only applies to the space gray mode lat present.
5. AirPods w/ Charging Case + iPhone SE - $130 + $399
If you still want AirPods, you can pick up Apple's cheapest wireless buds for around $130, providing you don't get them directly from Apple. Add an iPhone SE for just $400, and you've got yourself a phone and AirPods for less than the AirPods Max.
This deal at Amazon saves you $30 on Apple's entry-level AirPods. You don't get the wireless charging case, but this is the most affordable way to get brand new AirPods right now.
6. HomePod + 2x HomePod mini + Beats Flex - $299 + $198 + $50
You could get one amazing speaker, two excellent ones, and a pair of wireless all-day headphones to deck out an entire room, or even two.
7. 5x HomePod mini + Beats Flex - 5x $99 + $50
Or, if you'd prefer to kit out every room in the house, pick up a plethora of HomePod minis and still get a pair of wireless headphones.
8. Most of an M1 Mac Mini - $699
Like the iPad Air, this is obviously a bit more expensive than AirPods Max. However, it is worth noting that for just $150 more than AirPods Max, you can have a brand-new Mac mini with Apple's fastest-ever desktop chip, the M1.
9. Nintendo Switch + AirPods Pro - $299 + $249
Like deal number 3, just swap in a Switch for the Series S. An awesome handheld console for portable or at-home gaming, and AirPods Pro to go along with it.
10. iPad + Smart Keyboard - $329 + $159
If you want a more rounded iPad solution, you could always pick up the base model iPad and a Smart Keyboard from Apple, plus just enough for a pizza or something.
Money, money, money
Which alternative to AirPods Max do you think is the best value? Or do you think the AirPods Max are good value in and of themselves? Let us know!
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
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