Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Apple ends 2020 with a bang and launches

Apple (AAPL) ends 2020 with a bang and launches its long-awaited over-the-ear headphones called AirPods Max. And alas, Apple went to the big leagues with this one. The AirPods Max is now available for pre-order and costs $ 549. The price is premium with a capital letter ‘P’. We talk almost twice as much as the competition.

The headphones are already hanging until March, until 2021! Really ?! That means you have plenty of time to decide if Apple’s latest accessory is worth your money. And this is where I come in. Look, the AirPods Max is far superior to the competition’s over-the-ear headphones, but they offer unique features, including Siri-always-on functionality and Apple’s easy pairing technology.

So should you get it? Here’s how to decide

Let’s first look at what the AirPods Max has to offer. Apple says they can listen for up to 20 hours with active noise cancellation or transparency mode enabled, similar to competing offerings. Active noise cancellation uses Max’s internal and external microphones to determine the frequency of outdoor noise and then uses opposite frequencies to cancel it. Think of a crying baby in a plane or your neighbor attacking Kelly Clarkson.

Transparency amplifies the noise from outside, so you can better hear what’s going on around you while wearing headphones. This way you do not have to take them down to hear someone talking to you. You can switch between the two modes with the button on the side of the right cup of the Max headphones.

There is also Siri always on, with which you can call the voice assistant hands-free and ask to do things like make phone calls or send an SMS. And with a digital crown, similar to the one on the Apple Watch, you can switch songs and turn the volume up and down.

Apple also promotes the mesh material used in the headband and the ear cups; automatic header detection, which interrupts music when you record a header; and spatial sound, which tracks head movements to simulate auditions in a theater. So if you turn your head to the left, away from your iPhone, the sound will be more prominent in your right ear.

You will also be able to replace Max’s headphones if they wear out for $ 69 each.

The competition

So, what else is there? Well, Bose has a stylish headphone called the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, which is generally considered among the best. They also offer, as the name suggests, noise suppression technology, transparency mode, touch controls, voice control, and 20 hours of battery life. $ 379. It’s much cheaper than Apple’s offer, but they do not have overall capabilities like Max’s, such as Always-On Siri and Spatial Audio. And they did not include the H1 chip in the Max, which according to Apple allows computer sound that improves the sound quality by adapting it to its environment.

Then there is the Sony (SNE) WH-1000XM4 headphones. Sony is not the best name. Those that are also one of the best-rated headphones also have the technology for noise suppression and sound control.

They have voice controls via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, they will interrupt when you pull them out and resume when you put them on, and will even lower the volume when you cover a cup so you can hear people talking to you. All this and you have 30 hours of battery life. The price? $ 279. That’s a lot less than what Bose or Apple ask for.

And then of course there’s Apple’s own AirPods Pro, with active noise cancellation, Siri always on, and computer sound. But you only have 4.5 hours of battery life, and it’s not an earphone like the AirPods Max.

Need to get headphones from Apple?

The AirPods Max has yet to come out, so it’s hard to judge the sound quality, but the price is a lot to swallow. If you are looking for luxury headphones, Bose and Sony may be the better option at a relatively cheaper price.

But it’s important to note that they do not offer all the amenities of Apple headphones. If you’re an Apple fan and are willing to pay cash, the AirPods Max may be a good option, especially given Apple’s audio features.

Big Apple fanatic with a tighter budget? Then check out the AirPods Pro. It will be a different experience than over-the-head headphones, but at least you get many of the same features at a price.

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