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From the Editor's Desk: $550 for what?!

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

Another week has gone by, and we are just three weeks away from the end of 2020. It's been one heck of a year and quite frankly, I'm glad that it will all be over soon. I can't wait to see what 2021 has in store for us.

This week, Apple gave us all one last surprise for 2020, and that's the AirPods Max. But with it comes a little bit of sticker shock: $550! It's one of the biggest reasons why I wasn't planning on purchasing a pair, and honestly, it's just a little out of reach for a lot of people. Not to mention that the Smart Case for the AirPods Max is...weird, to say the least. But the unboxings and first impressions have started to come in, and it's sounding pretty good.

In fact, I caved and ordered a pair (stay tuned for my review here at iMore soon). I still stand by my original reasons of it being way too expensive for most people to be worth it, and that case just looks ridiculous, so I'll be approaching my testing of the AirPods Max with quite a bit of skepticism. But from the first impressions of YouTubers so far, it seems to have that Apple "magic" behind them, so I'm eager to try them out myself.

And while there seems to be a lot of criticism for the AirPods Max in general over the past few days, this has always been the case with Apple — it's just history repeating itself. When the AirPods first came out, and then the AirPods Pro, those got a ton of commentary from the general public about how odd they looked, or how "expensive" they are (though it's nothing compared to the AirPods Max), and what-have-you. Eventually, they became status icons, but the AirPods Pro also sound damn good for its size. The AirPods Max are going through the same motions — people claiming that the price is outrageous, even though these are geared for the high-fidelity audio market and not your standard Bose or Sony headphones, and that the case and functionality looks stupid. And yet, the AirPods Max are sold out through Apple until March of next year already, just like how AirPods Pro were always going out of stock in the beginning stages.

I know that the AirPods Max are going to be a hard sell for the average person, especially right now as a lot of folks have more important issues to deal with rather than $550 headphones. But I don't think Apple ever intended for this product to be as mainstream as the regular AirPods or AirPods Pro. Both of those are wireless earbuds, which are much more convenient to have than a pair of heavy cans, and the average person isn't someone who needs high-fidelity audio or premium over-the-ear headphones. The AirPods Max are for a niche product for those who want a super seamless Apple experience in their headphones across all Apple devices, while getting top-of-the-line audio quality, comfort, and incredibly premium materials (there's no cheap plastic in these).

Again, I'm eager to get my AirPods Max this week for my upcoming review, but I'll be approaching them with caution — are they truly worth $550 when you can get Bose 700 or Sony XM4s for a few hundred less? I don't have either of those headphones, but I do have the previous Bose favorite, QuietComfort 35 II. I'm really curious as to what the AirPods Max can offer that make it worth it over the other, more affordable (at least compared to $550) options.

In other news, did you hear about all that amazing Star Wars and Marvel content coming to Disney+ in the next three years? I'm super excited! Ahsoka Tano is finally getting the recognition she deserves after being in the shadows of other characters, like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Speaking of, I am eager to see Christian Haydensen reprise his role as Darth Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor. Maybe he won't get a crappy script to go off of this time around. The other Star Wars spinoffs and features are also going to be very interesting, especially The Acolyte and Rogue Squadron, so I'm ready for all the Star Wars! And I'm pretty hyped after that Loki trailer — it's one of the reasons why I signed up for Disney+ in the first place. And there's a ton of other stuff to look forward to in the next three years from Marvel, so yeah, I'm pretty pumped!

Well, that's it for this week. I can't wait for my AirPods Max — they should be coming Tuesday (if all goes well), so stay tuned for my review in the coming days. And time is running out for holiday shopping — check my online shopping tips and don't forget to pick up some affordable gifts for iPhone users to stuff those stockings with!

- Christine Romero-Chan

Christine Chan
Senior Editor

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

3 Comments
  • Christine, how are you getting a pair this Tuesday? I thought I remembered you writing on Wednesday that you weren’t getting a pair and I know they were sold out by then
  • I ordered a pair before that piece went live!
  • Ah gotcha. Can’t wait for the review!