AirPods Max 2: Price, colors, battery life, rumors, and everything you need to know
Could Apple's best AirPods get better?
Very few owners of the original AirPods Max are disappointed with their purchase. They aren't the cheapest wireless headphones around, nor even the cheapest with active noise cancelation (ANC). But Apple gets away with that $549 asking price because AirPods Max are pretty great.
Our Apple AirPods Max review is pretty conclusive: Our reviewer decisively called the AirPods Max "the best headphones that I currently own."
But as with everything. they can get better. But what will that look like and when will we get new AirPods headphones? There are questions around how much they'll cost and more, too.
We don't know everything about AirPods Max 2, that's for sure, and solid information has been hard to come by. But there are some bits and pieces here and there as well as others that we can safely assume based on other products as well. And with WWDC 2023 around the corner, there's a chance a new model is on the horizon.
Here's everything we know about AirPods Max 2 so far ... as well as some calculated guesses based on Apple's recent audio releases.
AirPods Max 2: Release date
The big question is one that we don't have a definitive answer to just yet: When will an update to Apple's AirPods Max be released? January 2023 saw supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo say that he expected Apple to launch the next version of its best headphones towards the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025 -- which gives him plenty of wiggle room to be right.
Apple unveiled the first AirPods Max in December 2020, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we should be looking to December 2024. One release does not constitute a pattern, although right now it's all that we really have to go on.
(4/5)The next-generation AirPods will likely begin mass shipments in 2H24 or 1H25, including more affordable AirPods (with Apple targeting a price of $99) and new AirPods Max, which will be assembled by Luxshare ICT and Hon Teng.January 12, 2023
AirPods Max 2 colors
If there is one thing that makes AirPods Max stand out from the crowd beyond the price and rather impressive ANC and Transparency mode, it's the choice of colors. The current model ships in Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Pink, and Green.
We already know from Apple's other products that it likes to change the colors that it adds new ones in from time to time and, often, within different generations. That could well be the case this time around as well.
Space Gray is a prime candidate for change because Apple often tweaks what that color actually is. Then we could maybe see the other colors change to better complement Apple's other products at the time. Possibly the iPhone 16, for example.
Apple was rumored to be adding new colorways to the existing AirPods Max lineup way back in May 2021, although that never happened.
AirPods Max and USB-C
In terms of changes, the AirPods Max 2 can expect something of a hard time. The original headphones are so popular that any improvements will have to be big if they're to capture attention.
The main change that we've heard of so far, and one that is pretty much a given, is the move to a USB-C port.
Apple is already heavily expected to use USB-C on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineups thanks to the EU's mandate that phones must use a common charger. That kicks in at the end of 2024 and will also apply to headphones and similar accessories.
Right now the AirPods Max use the same Lightning port that you'll find on an iPhone 14, so that needs to change.
AirPods Max 2: New features
The biggest changes in terms of differences between AirPods Max and AirPods Max 2 could come in the form of features that were actually missing from the original.
The OG AirPods Max were rumored to have interchangeable headbands, but that didn't happen. A teardown of the headphones hinted that custom headbands were planned, but didn't make the cut. Could Apple try again?
The headband is easy to replace on AirPods Max and there were rumors that Apple intended to have people swap out headbands and earcups like they do Apple Watch bands. We could imagine Apple having another run at that, but it isn't something we've seen rumored so far. Just imagine Apple selling different bands and earcups to match the season, just like watch bands and cases, though.
You can of course buy replacement ear cups right now, but they're sold more as a replacement for worn-out older pairs than as a fashion statement.
AirPods Max 2: Audio improvements
We can surely expect Apple to give the AirPods Max 2 headphones its latest and greatest audio chip, currently the H2, right?
With the H2 in place, we can likely expect improved Transparency mode including the Adaptive Transparency mode offered in the AirPods Pro 2. That will protect a wearer's hearing when loud sounds happen around them, stopping them from being deafened.
Conversation Boost could also come to the AirPods Pro, helping people focus on the person that is talking to them.
AirPods Max 2: Battery life
Other improvements could see Apple increase the AirPods Max battery life, while sweat and water resistance could also make the jump from Apple's in-ear audio options.
AirPods Max currently run for up to 20 hours on a single charge, while just five minutes of charger time is enough to get you around 1.5 hours of listening time before you have to hit the charger again. Any increase would be welcome, although perhaps not all that necessary for the majority of people.
One option that could also arrive is MagSafe charging, although it isn't clear how that would work unless Apple revamps the case it sells with its wireless headphones.
AirPods Max 2: Price
Given the fact that Apple has increased the price of some of its products, especially internationally, it seems unlikely that we can expect a big price cut when the AirPods Max 2 arrive.
That means that the current $549 price is likely to stick around, but any improvements in features and materials will hopefully make that price even more stomach-able this time around.
There were rumors of a budget "sport" AirPods Max option in 2020, but that didn't come to fruition and we haven't heard anything about Apple going that route since.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.