3 ways AirPods Max 2 needs to improve so I can replace my XM5 headphones

AirPods Max red
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

In a series of tweets, prolific analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that, alongside a HomePod mini 2 and low-cost AirPods arriving in 2024, the sequel to the AirPods Max headphones could finally be arriving as well, and I'm excited.

I'm an owner of both the AirPods Pro (first-generation) and Sony XM5 headphones for different situations. The AirPods are used for walks to listen to podcasts and music, especially when I've got no choice but to walk in the UK rain. I was hoping for new Max headphones to arrive in October 2022, but instead we got the second-gen models of AirPods Pro.

And yet I use the XM5 headphones for when I'm doing a majority of work, alongside using its headphone jack to plug into my Steam Deck to play more of GTA V and Bioshock 2.

But if these three wishes of mine for AirPods Max 2 are granted, it could replace both my AirPods Pro and XM5s in one swoop.


iPad Air 5 connected to a USB-C hub

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

I've always been of the opinion to USB-C all the things. During the second lockdown in the UK, I replaced most of our plugs and hubs with USB-C ports while adding smart lights in our home, to the annoyance of my wife for a few days.

With new purchases since then such as the XM5s, extension leads, and my Steam Deck all with USB-C, the gamble has paid off. But even with the AirPods Pro 2, Apple is sticking with its aging lightning port.

For the whole line in 2024, not just the Max 2, let's see USB-C instead, so I can carry one less cable in my bag for when the headphones need charging. Let's get quick charging in there too, so that the battery can fill up that little bit quicker.

An actual case

AirPods Max case

(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

Every time I'm done with my headphones, they go in the hard case they came with and it's zipped up. For the current Max headphones, they're simply wrapped into a suede purse, giving no protection against the elements or from being walked on by our dog, Jolly.

It's an odd decision by Apple, especially when they're priced at $579 / £549. You'd, quite rightfully, expect some kind of protection for them. So let's see a protective, zipped-up, waterproof case for the Max 2 which could also work as a charging pad.


Apple Watch Ultra scuba diver underwater

(Image credit: Apple)

We're in a time when the iPhone 14 Pro could be accidentally thrown into a swimming pool, and its chances of working as it did before are much better than doing the same to an iPhone 4. The same goes for the Apple Watch. Especially the relatively-new Apple Watch Ultra model, where you can go as deep as 40 meters and not worry about it becoming waterlogged with salt water and ending up with a paperweight.

While the regular AirPods and AirPods Pro are both water resistant (up to a point), the Max isn't, nor are my XM5 headphones. So every time I try my luck at wearing them outside, a splash of rain falls on my head, causing me to hurriedly pack them into their case and into my bag.

So let's see some water resistance in the AirPods Max 2 – if there's light rain about to come down on me, I don't want to have the anxiety of packing them in as fast as I can.

We've waited long enough

AirPods Max, Bose 700, and Sony WH-1000xM5

(Image credit: Future)

AirPods Max is getting old - released in December 2020, we're past the two-year mark of its debut, and it's time for a refresh. With many of its competitors upgraded their own audio products in the intervening years, such as Sony and Bose, AirPods Max has been sitting by the sidelines.

Apple can achieve some easy wins here to make the Max 2 something irresistible to upgrade to such as an actual case, alongside some new colors. But with its recent audio efforts in bringing out a new HomePod, Apple could take its headphones to another level, and if it does, I'll be there, ready to pick them up at an Apple Store when available.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.