Our editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, ZDNet may earn a commission.

Apple announces AirPods Max, over-the-ear headphones that launch Dec. 15 for $549

Just in time for the holidays, Apple is ready to release its latest audio device.


Image: Apple

see also

Best wireless earbuds for business in 2020: AirPods and alternatives

Good earbuds aren't just great for making and receiving calls when on the move.

Read More

After several months of rumors and speculation, Apple has announced the AirPods Max, the first over-the-ear headphones from the company not under the Beats by Dre brand. There's an overall retro feel to the AirPods Max, giving them a unique look. Up until this point, the rumor was the headset would be called AirPods Studio. Alas, Apple likes to stick with familiar marketing names, and the AirPods Max is the end result. 

AirPods Max

Image: Apple

AirPods Max are available to order right now at Apple.com and begin shipping on Dec. 15. They cost $549.

The headphones have all of the same features the AirPods Pro do, just in a different form factor. Each ear cup has one of Apple's H1 chips to help with connectivity, an adaptive EQ that adjusts the equalizer for each year in real time, for example. AirPods Max also have the ability to pause music when you take the headphones off, or even just move one cup off your hear.

Holiday Gift Guide

ZDNet Recommends: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Here's a great lineup of gift ideas and resources to get you started.

Read More

Active noise cancelation and transparency mode are also part of the package, as is the fairly new Spatial Audio feature Apple added to the AirPods Pro with the release of iOS 14. Spatial Audio delivers a 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos audio experience, based on your head movement while you watch compatible content.

AirPods Max come in silver, space gray, sky blue, pink, and green. They also come with a soft Smart Case that puts them into a low power state to conserve battery life. Speaking of battery life, Apple claims the AirPods Max will last 20 hours on a single charge with both ANC and Spatial Audio enabled.

You can order AirPods Max right now. Deliveries will arrive next week, on Dec. 15. Do you plan on ordering a pair? Let us know in the comments below.