Apple AirPods Max: Release date, price, availability & more

Apple Airpods Max Listening Experience
Apple Airpods Max Listening Experience (Image credit: Apple)

The long wait is over. We had hoped to see a brand new set of AirPods, Apple's over-ear AirPods Max, at the October iPhone 12 event. However, we did not. Instead, Apple waited until December 8 to make the announcement. Here's everything we know about Apple's first-ever over-ear AirPods.

Release date

You can already order a pair of AirPods Max from the Apple website. The first shipments arrive on Tuesday, December 15. They will initially be available in the United States and 25 other countries and regions.


Apple is launching the new AirPods Max at $549. Yes, this is expensive. However, it's less than one rumor that suggested they'd launch at $599.

AirPods Max have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

AirPods Max combines high-fidelity audio with Active Noise Cancellation. Each part of their custom-built driver works to produce sound with ultra-low distortion across the audible range. From deep, rich bass to accurate mids and crisp, clean highs, you'll hear every note with a new sense of clarity.

Do they have Apple's H1 chip?

As expected, the new AirPods Max offers an Apple H1 headphone chip in each ear cup. The H1 means instant pairing and device switching with the latest Bluetooth technology, "Hey, Siri" support, and better power management for increased listening and talk time.

How many microphones?

Eight of the nine microphones found on the AirPods Max are used for Active Noise Cancellation. Three are used for voice pickup ((two shared with Active Noise Cancellation and one additional microphone).

What about sensors?

The headphones include an Optical sensor (each ear cup), Position sensor (each ear cup), Case-detect sensor (each ear cup), Accelerometer (each ear cup), and Gyroscope (left ear cup).

AirPods Max has a Digital Crown!

Carried over from the Apple Watch, the new Apple headphones come with a Digital Crown. The Digital Crown lets you precisely control volume, skip between tracks, answer phone calls, and activate Siri.

What about battery life?

The AirPods Max promises up to 20 hours of listening time on a single charge with Active Noise Cancellation, or Transparency mode enabled. You'll also find up to 20 hours of movie playback on a single charge with spatial audio turned on and up to 20 hours of talk time on a single charge. It takes just five minutes of charge time to add 90 minutes of listening time with Fast Charging.

Each headphones pair comes with a Smart Case that Apple says will preserve the battery charge in an ultra-low-power-state. Charging is performed via a Lightning connector.

Are you excited about the AirPods Max?

Let us know in the comments below!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

  • Not for the price.
  • I have a large head and large ears (e.g. the Bose QC35 are much too tight, and the earpads are much too small), so I'll wait to watch reviews before deciding whether or not to buy these. I was really hoping the rumors of replaceable parts would make finding the right size for me would be easy, but now I'm not so sure.
  • Bose 700 is $200 less, probably has better noise cancelling features, has USB C, and allows you to plug into the airline entertainment system for those 16 plus hour international flights. It’s a no brainer, I’ll be saying no....
  • Not available until March, when I check the online store. I guess people must want 'em.