Apple yesterday announced its first over-ear headphones in a crowded market. The over-ear headphones market has many players but dominated by big players like Sony and Bose. There was no event to mark the launch but it took the tech world by storm.
The new wireless headphone costs $550 and comes with noise cancellation feature as well. The new headphones can last up to 20 hours on full charge according to Apple and while the Apple touted audio quality is yet to be seen, Apple says the ear cups can independently rotate.
The new headphones dubbed AirPod Max work with Apple’s voice assistant Siri in addition to the physical control called the Digital Crown like the one in the Apple Watch.
The Airpods Max have a few mics and use what Apple calls computational sound to give its sound quality. The earphones arrive in a leather case and charge by means of the iPhone’s Lightning Connector.
The AirPod Max is available from next Tuesday the 15th of December in 5 colours, space gray, silver, blue, green and pink.
The $550 AirPod Max is quite on the high side but there is something else about this. Apple bought Beats for $3b in 2014 and the priciest one costs about $400 putting Apple’s AirPod Max in direct competition with one of its own subsidiaries. So, Apple is not competing with Sony and Bose but Beats as well.
But the pricing may turn out to not mean much to Apple product users because it won’t be the first time Apple would be launching a pricing service or gadget. Apple in 2016 took the risk of discontinuing the earphone jack and opted for a wearable AirPod instead and while many again predicted that it may not be a hit, they were wrong. The AirPod by itself was a hit and then Apple went on to upgrade the product with noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro. It is not exactly clear how much AirPods contributed to the $31b (more than the iPad and Mac) Apple generated from accessories in the past year.
Apple plans another AirPod next year. It will be interesting to see how the AirPod Max fares over the next year.