Big Sony WH-1000XM5 leak shows Apple should be worried for AirPods Max

Sony Wh 1000xm5 Box Leak
Sony Wh 1000xm5 Box Leak (Image credit: u/Chez5160)

What you need to know

  • Sony's upcoming WH-1000XM5 headphones have had their retail packaging leak.
  • The WH-1000XM5 are expected to replace the already popular WH-1000XM4 headphones.
  • WH-1000XM5 buyers can likely expect best-in-class ANC capabilities and more.

Sony's upcoming WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones are now more real than ever after new photos appeared on Reddit that seem to show the full retail packaging they will ship in.

First popping up in the Sony subreddit, the new images show a boxed pair of WH-1000XM5 headphones in white, although we can safely expect that Sony will also offer a black version for those who prefer their headphones a little on the darker side.

While we don't get to see the headphones themselves, the packaging does confirm one thing — a 30-hour battery life with active noise cancellation (ANC) turned on. That's 10 hours less than the previously rumored 40 hours, but it's still more than enough for the vast majority of people. For comparison, AirPods Max manage just 20 hours.

The previous WH-1000XM4 headphones were a direct competitor to Apple's AirPods Max and were among the best wireless headphones on the market, especially at their price point. This new updated version is sure be just as capable. Popularity is almost certainly assured as well, although we don't yet have pricing. It's a fair bet that they will be much cheaper than the $550 Apple charges for AirPods Max, however, with the previous WH-1000XM4 selling for an MSRP of $349.99.

Airpods Max Side

Airpods Max Side (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

That $200 difference will of course mean that Sony wearers won't benefit from the instant device switching offered by AirPods Max, but it's likely that the WH-1000XM5 will have the superior ANC tech, so it might just be down to personal choice here. Those who aren't using Apple devices should probably just go for the Sony option, of course. If price is the main concern no matter what hardware you're pairing them with, these will surely be the best AirPods Max alternatives out there.

Price isn't the only thing we don't know, either. No release window has yet been given for the WH-1000XM5 headphones although one Reddit commenter does point out that the "FCC short term confidentiality date ends on August 8th." That doesn't mean the headphones won't break cover before then, but it might be a handy guide to work to until we're told otherwise.

Oliver Haslam

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.