back to article Apple aptly calls its wireless over-the-ear headphones the AirPods Max – as in, maximum damage to your wallet

Apple today embarked upon another skirmish into the world of over-ear headphones with the launch of the AirPods Max. The cans faithfully follow Apple's playbook. Like the bog-standard AirPod they are intrinsically linked to the iOS ecosystem, limiting their usefulness beyond Cupertino's kit. They look nice, although beauty is …

  1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    For Australia, it'll be AU$899.00.

    1. Geoff (inMelbourne)

      I know I shouldn't. I know its wrong.

      But when I see someone, perhaps in my office or on the train (so, err, not soon...) wearing these, I'm going to think:

      What a moron. $900 for Bluetooth headphones.

      This is exactly the opposite effect that the purchaser was aiming for.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        There are plenty enough people who have the disposable income to buy these to add to the the Bose, Sony and other high spec headphones they already own and not notice because £500 is like small change. It’s a sector of the market.

      2. Franco Silver badge

        "This is exactly the opposite effect that the purchaser was aiming for."

        To be honest Geoff, it isn't because you (and I) are not the target demographic for these. Those who haven't drunk the koolaid will think as you and I do, those that have will think jealous thoughts of the people that can afford these or will think about buying them.

        This is after all a company that charges £560 just for a set of wheels. https://www.theregister.com/2020/04/16/apple_mac_pro_699_dollar_wheels/

        1. Crypto Monad

          $/£

          Don't forget that $699 Apple Bucks = £699 Apple Pounds.

          Buy them here.

          1. Franco Silver badge

            Re: $/£

            Thanks for that, I just re-read the headline of that story and forgot that the actual "exchange" rate was a bit steeper than reality. Can't criticise Apple for that though, because all the tech companies change dollar prices to pounds directly instead of applying exchange rates.

            1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

              Re: $/£

              Don't forget that US prices don't include local/county/state/federal taxes...

              (still remember trying to understand statements in order-by-mail catalogues in the previous millennium like: Residents of Vermont, add 5% to the total price)

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: $/£

              "because all the tech companies change dollar prices to pounds directly instead of applying exchange rates."

              Primarily because UK prices include VAT while US prices don't usually include the many and varied sales taxes implemented in different states and cities. Likewise, they need to add in the cost of the warranty period, which is generally much longer in the UK and EU than in the USA. With the recent fall in the value of the £ against the $ over the last few years, I'm surprised the actual number isn't now higher in £ than in $ given the above.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Primarily because UK prices include VAT

                which was introduced, roughly, because we joined the EEC, right. So, in three weeks' time...

                - you must admit, among the unearthly claims around the time of the referendum, you didn't hear this one! ;)

                1. Lazlo Woodbine

                  Re: Primarily because UK prices include VAT

                  If we didn't have EEC mandated VAT you can bet your life we'd have some other kind of sales tax by now, and possibly in some stupid way like the US were prices are listed without tax so you get a nice surprise when the time comes to purchase

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Primarily because UK prices include VAT

                    Prior to joining the “Common Market” (as it started out) the UK had sales tax which was levied at varying rates depending on the whim of governments and the perceived “luxury” of the item. So VAT was not an expansion of taxation.

                  2. P0l0nium

                    Re: Primarily because UK prices include VAT

                    That's to remind Americans how extravagant and inefficient their state government is.

                    The UK need MORE of that sort of thing, not less.

                    I like my bills itemised so I can tell who's ripping me off. It should be added at the very end along with credit card transaction fees.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Primarily because UK prices include VAT

                  According to the mighty Wikipedia "was introduced, roughly, because we joined the EEC" should really be more like "which replaced Purchase Tax because we joined the EEC". It is also apparently the Government's third largest source of revenue, which should give pause for thought before anyone begins to dream that it might disappear any time soon.

      3. TheProf Silver badge

        $900 for Bluetooth headphones.

        Well that would be about 90 packets of cigarettes in the UK. About 3 months worth for a 20-a-day smoker.

        I know on which I'd 'rather' spend my money.

        1. Lazlo Woodbine

          Re: $900 for Bluetooth headphones.

          Most smokes these days are closer to £10 a pack, so more like two months worth.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    I have a pair of Kenwood semi open cans that are about 25 years old.

    I won't be changing them just yet.

    1. six_tymes

      25 years ago those were probably still made in japan and not china. I bet they sound amazing, and obviously of high quality construction since they lasted so long. unlike junk made in china "planned obsolesces"

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Semi-open and open cans don't tend to worn outside of the house as often as closed cans are, so aren't subject to tbe abuse of being bundled into rucksacks etc.

        Other than cables, the main area of older headphones than often fails is the foam and vinyl of the earpads. Like failed cables, these are often replaceable by design, or at least easily repairable.

        Loud speakers of a certain vintage also used a foam rubber that disintegrated over time. Again, it's not the hardest job to replace. Sometimes a capacitor or two will need replacing on a speaker's cross-check circuit - again, not too tricky.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          And after 17 new heads and 14 new handles...

    2. Lazlo Woodbine

      Yep, I have Sennheiser HD600s of similar vintage, they sound incredible, but only really for use indoors, and they need a decent headphone amp to drive them properly

  3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    How about

    No....

    Whilst I'll admit the moving head to face the sound source is a neat trick, it's one I'll happily do without since my Sony Wh-h800's do wireless so very well (quick pairing, backup cord if needed, repairable if needed, works with windows, mac and android, has an app to tune the sound to your hearing, generally lasts about a week before I have to charge them on using them at least 4 - 5 hours a day) and with the change I can buy a set highend hifi cans for home listening (say to a record player using decidedly non-wireless tech).. Or buy a phono to usb sound card...

    And still have change for a new record deck....

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: How about

      "No...."

      How About.

      Absolutely Fuck No.

      There, FTFY.

      Also: "generally lasts about a week before I have to charge them on using them at least 4 - 5 hours a day"

      Man, I wish I had that much time in a day to listen to music.

  4. six_tymes

    $550!! an apple sucker is born every minute.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      And who wants to take a guess as to how much these cost Apple to produce in BoM terms?

      $30? $40?

      Yeah yeah, "cost of research and design", shipping, overheads, etc etc. But I think even the most rabid fanboy would struggle to argue that these aren't a complete piss-take by Apple.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        BoM ?

        And how little the workers who put them together will be paid.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        If they were the only headphones that worked with iPhones, then yeah, it'd be a piss take. Remember, you can buy far more expensive headphones from Sony or Sennheiser if you really wanted to.

        As it is, their launch price is less than that of the first Walkman, the first iPod or the first iPhone - other non essential items aimed at people with disposable income. There is no reason for Apple to sell these for less at this time because, just before Christmas, demand would outstrip supply. In addition, it is important for Apple to sell these for more than their wireless rivals at launch, since they want to reinforce their claims that these headphones do more then rival's offerings.

        The point is, these are the factors that determine the retail price, not the BOM (which itself is a function of tooling against sold units)

        If you want to pay close to the BOM, there are some fantastic-sounding headphones avalaible - just search forums for 'Chi Fi'.

        Personally, I did find myself looking at older Sony MX3s for around £150 earlier in the year, but I couldn't justify the cost (not like I was travelling by train or plane much!). Instead I bought a pack of 3.5mm trrrs jacks and dug out the soldering iron for my collection of damaged earbuds.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          @Dave 126, please don't be objective and rational. People are entitled to be judgemental without you spoiling it for them.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            >please don't be objective and rational

            I came here for an argument

            1. Diodelogic

              No you didn't.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Is this the half-hour argument, or the full hour?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There are a lot of costs involved when developing time travel:

        I ordered last Saturday (Dec.5) a system from Apple web site.

        it was deemed to be delivered next Friday (Dec.11)

        I got it on Monday (Dec.7).

        I was advised on Tuesday (Dec.8) that it just left the warehouse...

        (anon just in case I get a second copy of my order for free - not holding my breath though)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          It's Quantum, it exists both in the warehosue and at your house until you look at it

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Imagine what the cost would be if these were cabled/had an optional cable. The oxygen free copper would have driven the cost up a notch or two

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Well yeah, we'd have an Apple video talking about how they created their own type of silver for the cables (just as they did their own gold for the Edition Watch)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This uses oxygen-free wireless transmit technology - the Max's 0s and 1s are higher fidelity bits than what you get with other headphones. It is powered by Apple's new F-U chip.

        That is why the pairing is proprietary - it is not easy to find an oxygen free wireless path. It also operates at in the GHz band - that *billions* of wireless transmits per second.

        Can't wait to get mine - hope it works with the F-Me-2 chip in my Apple Hermes watch. Magical!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Hahahaha, an oxygen-free wireless transmission path, that's genius!

          Why did you post as AC?!

        2. 080

          Hermes

          Did't realise that Hermes made watches, I thought they just delivered parcels

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: Hermes

            (They don't even do that very well.)

  5. HildyJ Silver badge
    Angel

    You forgot to mention

    They only work with iEarrings available from $149 per pair and up depending on your choice of metal.

    Apple is also in the process of expanding Genius Bars to include iHaircuts for those who are wearing their hair wrong.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: You forgot to mention

      Oddly enough, that's the one feature that these Apple cans have over their rivals - internal microphone arrays and processing to adapt the sound on the fly to compensate for an incomplete seal. Obviously wait for reviews, but in theory these cans should be more tolerant of a lock of hair over an ear.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: You forgot to mention

        With no disrespect intended towards the young lady in the Apple-provided image used in the illustration... she looks like she has her ears in a really odd place.

        Either that, or the cans have been placed incorrectly... but surely not that?

        (Besides, every sound engineer knows the proper way to wear cans is with one ear fully exposed :)

        1. Rob Daglish

          Re: You forgot to mention

          For me, the left ear... YMMV!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You forgot to mention

      And for the ladies theres iMakeup....

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: You forgot to mention

      Next in Genius Bars: iNeken.

      1. The Boojum
        Pint

        Re: You forgot to mention

        Passed the 'genuine LOL' test.

        Have a pint and an upvote!

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: You forgot to mention

      iCoffee Bar at the Apple Store

      staffed by Genius Baristas, "free" coffee on production of your iPhone/iWatch.

      Later, you'll be able to buy an iCoffee making machine, and purchase "iCoffee Pods" from the Apple Store at not-compettitive cost. The pods will not be compatible with any of the other brands/market leader, and will feature a design with rounded corners. Expect short best before/expiry dates on the pods

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: You forgot to mention

        If you say slanderous things about apple is that islander?

    5. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: You forgot to mention

      will it work with folk-metal?

  6. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    I feel more and more like a complete wanker for buying into the Apple product offerings, as each year passes.

    The real embarrassment for me, is whenever I visit the CrApp Store, I am left thinking what the fuck is the point of this smart phone

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      I'm happy to say that the last (and only) time I ever gave apple any money was when I bought my Apple ][

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @FlamingDeath

      Have you ever thought of stop being a complete wanker and buy things from other manufacturers?

      Just saying… Ishy

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Pergatory for you, having missed the chance to seek redemption and buy a Windows Phone

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Case looks like a bra

    Someone has posted this on twitter..

    "sorry apple, but the airpods max case looks weirdly like a bra"

    https://twitter.com/katiecollins/status/1336306194508603393

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Case looks like a bra

      That is indeed funny.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Jean Paul Gaultier

      Could produce a case for these headphones inspired by the Cone Bra he designed for Madonna.

    3. Suburban Inmate

      Re: Case looks like a bra

      Maybe because you'd have to be a bit of a tit to shell out for these when there's better value offerings from proper audio equipment companies?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Case looks like a bra

        Oh yeah, better value:

        Sennheiser Orpheus H1: £51,000

        Sony MDR R10: $2,500 in 1991, sells for $6,000 today.

        Sony and Sennheiser, and yes, Apple, have you well covered in the under £30, and under £100 ranges too.

        The point is, the type of people who buy the 'better value' Sony MX4 headphones for $400 clearly have money to spare, so might be willing to spend $600 on the Apple cans. Those of us who never spend more than £50 on headphones will never consider the MX4s, the Bose or the Apples, so the price gap is irrelevant.

        1. Mongrel

          Re: Case looks like a bra

          I've found the problem to be that a lot of the people who buy them do so because it's an obvious way to show-off rather than for the sound.

          If you walk into the office with an expensive pair of Sennheiser\Sony\Bose headphones, most people don't care as they're not up on the product stack. They could be £90 or £9,000 but only like minded people will recognise them.

          Slapping on a pair of these and people will instantly recognise them as an iProduct and, at the very least, know they're not a cheap product.

          1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

            Re: Case looks like a bra

            This is the reason why almost every iPhone case must leave the Apple logo exposed.

        2. Steve Kerr

          Re: Case looks like a bra

          Had a look at the Sennheiser Orpheus H1

          it's not just a pair of headphones, it's a valve amplifier built into a marble base and it looks like a product that was made and is for sale "Because we could and a few very rich people will buy it" rather than the apple ithing which is a mass market product that is just stupidly expensive for the masses.

          The Sony ones, look like they cost more now because they're not made anymore and they are highly sort after.

        3. Suburban Inmate

          Re: Case looks like a bra

          Good point, some treat their finances like that, but personally I'd have a budget in mind and get the best performance I could for the money.

          I wouldn't mind paying a few hundred for good headphones if I had that budget. I would mind looking like an iPrat at any price though, if I'm honest.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Case looks like a bra

        > better value offerings from proper audio equipment companies

        I wonder how much of Sony's management thought Apple wasn't a 'proper audio equipment company' when the iPod was released. Oops.

        And in turn at that time, Nikon''s management might have thought Sony wasn't a real photographic equipment company. Oh dear.

        Funny thing this technology malarky, isn't it?

        1. Nosher

          Re: Case looks like a bra

          > I wonder how much of Sony's management thought Apple wasn't a 'proper audio equipment company' when the iPod was released

          I don't think it was/is, to be honest: I've never been so disappointed as when I "upgraded" an iRiver portable music player to an iPod and played it for the first time, as the audio quality was significantly worse than the older device it replaced (a significant contributor being the crappy ear buds that came with it). And that was before fully realising the horror that was iTunes, which made it ten times harder than it needed to be to get music onto the thing in the first place

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Case looks like a bra

            > And that was before fully realising the horror that was iTunes

            To be fair, awful as iTunes might have been it had nothing on the horror that Sony's SonicStage was reputed to manifest. Sony's answer to the iPod was considered to be a fine piece of hardware but it required SonicStage and it couldn't play MP3 files - only ATRAC. The point remains though - the iPod took a big chunk of the market for HDD (and later solid state) audio players that Sony had complacently thought belonged to them, at the same relagating Minidisc recorders to a niche product almost overnight.

            The early iRiver kit was excellent. And not only could music just be copied over to it as a mass storage device, but it could act as a USB host in its own right and copy music to other devices. I was once given an iPod with a broken screen and immediately took it apart to replace the broken HDD in my iRiver H320.

            The H1xx and H3xx range did have great sound quality, but I can't remember the included earbuds as being anything special. I mostly used it with some Sennheiser HD 250s.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The early iRiver kit was excellent

              I still have my H320. Or H340... yeah, the one with a bigger (than HUGE), 40Gb hdd. I also remember taking it on a trip to India around... 2004(ish) as it had a great feature, usb host, so you could offload your digicam files to it. Which was great, given how expensive (and small) memory cards were there. The only pain was slow speed. They also added a few truly revolutionary (and useless) quirks, like ability to play video files and view txt files.

              p.s. I actually still have it, and a few months ago, once it sat long enough on recharging cable it woke up and yes, it's alive. I guess I can still use it as a player of sorts, though I'm pretty sure it would refuse to play flacs. And to think I paid something around 300 quid for it is quite mind-boggling to me now :)

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: The early iRiver kit was excellent

                You might consider putting RockBox on your H320. RockBox is an open source replacement OS for a range of media devices of that vintage. Amongst other things, it includes a GameBoy emulator, so I played through SuperMario on my H320. I also installed Zelda Link's Awakening. However, the H320 can't register one of the buttons you might map to 'A' at the same time as a direction command from the D pad... Swap which button is 'A' in the emulator options and you're good to go.

            2. D@v3

              Re: SonicStage

              I think part of the reason i have never been too bothered by the 'awfulness' of iTunes, is because i am aware first hand of how atrocious SonicStage was.

        2. Suburban Inmate

          Re: Case looks like a bra

          I can't see Apple turning into a good value audio equipment company, even if they are good quality. Up until they expire however they've been designed to.

    4. spireite Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re: Case looks like a bra

      Next time I'm out on the pull, and ... pull......

      I'll be checking the cleavage for an Apple stamp.... hopefully, I'll be with Android users...

  9. revenant

    "If you’ve got money to burn,.."

    That is the only point of them isn't it? To show how much spare dosh you've got?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: "If you’ve got money to burn,.."

      I suspect that most of them will be used in the home, in private for quiet time music listening and will never be seen by anyone else. Advertising them to muggers isn't a great idea.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: "If you’ve got money to burn,.."

        I'm still kicking myself for taking my Sennheisers (low end of their mid range, RRP of £90 but bought on sale for £35 sort of thing) out of the house to make a short train journey less boring... then leaving them in a pub. Grr.

        It was daft of me because they were excellent at-home headphones (I could fall asleep wearing them and wake up with no trace of ear discomfort) but poor portable headphones (overly long cable, didn't fold up).

        I could just about, if I tried really hard, justify a pair of Sony XM3s for £150 to myself, if they were just used at home and at work... but for generally travelling around then a pair of £6 Sony earbuds is likely the best option for me.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "If you’ve got money to burn,.."

        They come with a built in anti-cosh shield.

  10. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Computational Audio

    Was the subject of a Reg column a few years back.

  11. marc 9

    These won't be "cool" like AirPods

    Standard AirPods are cool because the cool kids can afford them. At this price, AirPods Max will be mainly used by middle-aged project managers, so likely to be very uncool.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: These won't be "cool" like AirPods

      History would appear to challenge your conclusion.

      The first Walkman came to be because Sony's CEO wanted something to listen to on air journeys. He was a middle aged manager and figured other middle aged managers might want one too. The engineers took a portable cassette recorder designed for journalists and started work. The MK II Walkman became their 'iconic' design, which was then followed by variations which included cheaper models for the 'kids.'

      The $800 price of the first iPod limited it to 'middle-aged project managers' - but iPods later became near ubiquitous amongst the kids.

      You're not completely off the mark, though - Bose market themselves almost exclusively at 'middle aged manager' types (or at least those people whose work compels them to travel by air more than they might wish) and they haven't convincingly broken out if that market segment. Still, it's a lucrative segment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These won't be "cool" like AirPods

      As a middle aged Project Manager, I will avoid these like the plague! We understand the Cost / Quality trade off (joke!) - although quality is technically 'fitness for purpose' so, if the 'purpose' is to show everyone that you are a pretentious twat, these could be considered very high quality.

      Beats were bloody awful headphones aimed at kids and, while these have a lot of tech, I assume the sound engineering was secondary to the styling. I am happy to be wrong here - wait for the reviews.

      I will stick to my Sennheiser HD600's and Shure SE425's (with modded filters) - neither is cheap but they are both exceptional headphones and I could replace both for the price of a set of these.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: These won't be "cool" like AirPods

        Wait for reviews, naturally, but What HiFi's tour of Apple's audio engineering and test facilities suggest that Apple aren't wanting.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: These won't be "cool" like AirPods

      What comes to mind when I see someone with AirPods is a snotty nose that is in need of a wipe

  12. Forget It
    Paris Hilton

    Your Wallet: Ear today

    gone tomorrow

  13. Paradroid

    Are they serious?

    Never mind the price (which does appear outrageous on the face of it), what about the styling?

    One of the nice side-effects of paying premium prices for products is that as well as performance, you expect to get premium design. The sort of design that says the owner has taste, like the Bowers and Wilkins range. This latest Apple effort looks like headphones from Smyths Toys. The red/pink colour in particular is horrendous.

    The other thing is performance. When the HomePod launched there was a bunch of people who thought the traditional hifi industry had just been made obsolete the way Palm and Nokia were in 2007. Which turned out not to be true of course. It's surely the same here - are these really going to sound massively better than B&W and the Sony WH-100XM4? It's possible I admit, but doubtful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they serious?

      Given the oxygen free copper cable stuff self-declared "audiophiles" claim make a difference, I think there is a market where it makes sense to use very expensive components to bring in a fractional percentage of improvement.

      This product will create a halo branding effect - this will be what DJs, rappers etc wear for their image, and this is what builds the brand. The look must be defining. The pricing *has* to be aspirational. This is not meant to be just high performing in audio functionality. That market is addressed by the Bose and Sony's.

      This product is meant for the real prize - building the Apple brand.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Are they serious?

      1: Over-styling usually denotes that a pair of cans is aimed at kids and has Mega Bass as its chief feature. For that market Apple has its Beats range. I'm not a fan of the Airport Max's metalic pastel colours, but they do mark them out as being for a different market segment.

      I guess that in terms of styling, you'd be comparing these to Bowers and Wilkins (some of whose personnel now work for Apple) or Bang and Olufsen, but Airpods do look like an Apple product (with a big dose of Marc Newson, an old mate of Jonny Ive's who has worked with Apple since the Watch).

      2. Performance. If we assume that sound quality is on a par with rivals (and no reason why it shouldn't, given Apple's budget, audio test facilities and personnel) then the differentiator will be extra features. These features are a function of silicon chips and code: Ease of pairing. Signal reliability. Noise cancelling performance. Audio signal that adapts to headphone / ear seal through the use of internal microphone arrays. The spatial surround sound stuff. Silicon and coding are things Apple can do.

  14. Richtea

    Grand Theft Moto

    Well at least I can get an easy grip on them from the scooter. Those little ones were just such a pain to nick. Max returns down the pub too. Merry Xmas everybody.

  15. werdsmith Silver badge

    To point out how dear these are, for the same amount of money, you can buy two pairs of Bose’s QC35 IIs, and still have enough money left over for a pair of bog-standard second-generation AirPods.

    You could buy three pairs of these Apple Airpods Max headphones for the price of one pair of Sennheiser HD820 and still have change for Airpods Pro.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fanbois Tiara

    Just another way to announce to the world that you are an iTit.

  17. Wyrdness

    You can have custom engravings

    You know that Apple's gone to far with their pricing when even the fanboys on MacRumors are doing this.

    https://forums.macrumors.com/attachments/screen-shot-2020-12-08-at-6-14-47-pm-png.1689736/

    They're also suggesting that these should come pre-engraved with the word 'Sucker'.

  18. Only me!
    WTF?

    Lock in to far!

    If I buy a TV I expect to be able to connect it to a source that shows moving pictures....

    If I buy head phones I expect to connect them to things that play music.

    Ok so the wire might have gone, but for the cost of these things they should connect to anything Bluetooth that produces sound.

    This is a lock in too far!!!!!!

    (And I thought lock ins were band during lockdown....sorry)

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Lock in to far!

      "Ok so the wire might have gone, but for the cost of these things they should connect to anything Bluetooth that produces sound."

      They do, and they can; they just do it via normal Bluetooth 5.0 with those devices rather than Smart Pairing. The article is wrong.

  19. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "To point out how dear these are, for the same amount of money, you can buy two pairs of Bose’s QC35 IIs, and still have enough money left over for a pair of bog-standard second-generation AirPods."

    QC35IIs cost $329,95. Not sure which school of math(s) you studied at to figure you can buy 2 sets plus AirPods and still get change out of $549...

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      €200 online based on Google Search results...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        List prices and actual retail prices often vary, especially after a few months or years of being released.

        It's probably fairer to compare the price of two products after have both been on sale for 6bmoths than it is to compare a newly launched product against one that has been around for a while.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      QC35IIs cost $329,95. Not sure which school of math(s) you studied at to figure you can buy 2 sets plus AirPods and still get change out of $549.

      I was quoting the article, didn’t you read it?

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Wasn’t talking to you Werdsmith, I was referencing the article.

  20. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "This, however, means it won’t work with Android or Windows devices. It also won’t play nice with older iDevices and Macs, as it requires MacOS Big Sur and iOS/iPad OS 14.3 or later as a bare minimum."

    They should work fine with Android, Windows and older iDevices - they'll just default back to normal Bluetooth pairing instead of Smart Pairing.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      WTF?

      Funny, my iPhone 8 is "up to date" and only has iOS 14.2. Either 14.3 is coming very soon or Apple expects users to time-travel?

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        It’s the Register writing an article about Apple; don’t expect logic, reason, details or accuracy.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          The AirPods Max aren’t available yet, and 14.3 is the RC version that is out there for testing and people have spotted the support for the AirPods Max in it. So as it stands they probably only work fully with the 14.3 RC but if they were to be available to buy before 14.3 rtm then a patch could be rolled out to 14.2.

  21. Vulture@C64

    Well don't look at any headphones from Sony, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Grado or HiFiMan - all have much more expensive devices than this and when you consider the technology in the Apple devices, they look reasonable. If you want to really hear something lovely, try the Focal Utopia . . . but you won't obviously because you want everything on the cheap and these are £3k . . . which makes the Apple headphones look cheap.

  22. Snar

    Premium audio space?

    I think "designer audio space" is more accurate - where function follows form rather that form following function.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Premium audio space?

      Their form - two shells, connected by a headband, that fit over a person's ears - appears to have been dictated by their function.

      What do your headphones look like?

      1. Snar

        Re: Premium audio space?

        Mine have transducers in them.

        You can see them through the backs of some pairs.

  23. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Gimmicky

    While no doubt they sound good (they better), and maybe the surround sound gimmicks are cool if you're listening to media that is coded to take advantage of this, I doubt they are any better in practical use than my ancient Sennheiser phones, or even justifiably better than my cheapo BlueTooth set that I use when working outdoors. And if I ever have to replace my current set, I can buy a very nice replacement set (or two) for the cost of these from someone else. But as others have pointed out, audiophiles are not the demographic Apple is targeting. Not that I'm some kind of elite audiophile with the tin ears I have. These are a niche product, and having personally embraced the Android ecosystem, and not being the person that gets the latest and greatest just because it's there and shiny, I am certainly not the niche they're marketing to.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Gimmicky

      Without knowing which Sennheisers you have, I couldn't comment on that - but I can say with absolute certainty these will be several orders of magnitude better than your cheapo Bluetooth set.

      I'm sure they will have excellent sound and will probably score 4.5 stars in most reviews including on audio sites - quality will not be the issue. The issue will be that they cost $100-200 dollars more than other high quality headphones that also have excellent sound and also score 4.5 stars; on the same sites.

  24. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    Apple is not a luxury brand

    just an expansive one.

    Luxury brands take care of their customers.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Apple is not a luxury brand

      I'm guessing you've never owned a Porsche.

  25. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Darwin Devices?

    Noise cancelling, "Theatre experience", self-sealing memory foam ear pads? I wonder how many of these rich kids will self-Darwin crossing busy streets? It's been an issue since portable music players were invented of course, but at least with most earbuds you can still hear some of the outside world.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Darwin Devices?

      Apple stood out from their competitors for years by including with their phones ear buds that didn't sit in the ear canal and so didn't block out ambient noise. This ability to hear traffic (and other noise) could be considered a feature (as you are right to suggest), but many considered it a bug (as did many people who sat near them on public transport, as they were 'leaky'.

      Apple did make In Ear Monitors, but they were never included with iPods or iPhones.

      Anyway, these Airpods Max headphones are being compared to other headphones that have noise cancelling, such as those from Bose and Sony. A common feature is 'pass through' mode which passes ambient noise through to the users ears.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you can buy two pairs of Bose’s QC35 IIs, and still have enough money left

    my maths fails me, I thought the 35II costs around300+ a pair? Multiply by two and still have enough money left...?

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: you can buy two pairs of Bose’s QC35 IIs, and still have enough money left

      You’re right. The article is nonsense.

  27. TrickyRicky

    The Future Bites

    How much do you want these? We know a song about that...

    https://youtu.be/sX22dFMSNcg

  28. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Already knocked off

    I found some off-brand bluetooth headphones on eBay for around $30, free shipping. That will clue you in to what the BOM cost is.

    The Chinese knock-offs can be hit/miss on sound quality where the Apple product will be spot on. I've found an ear bud seller with product I'm pretty happy with and I've bought about 6 pair to have spares. The price was in the cup of Starbucks range for all of them. I figure I can try out some larger headphones until I find a pair with good sound quality and either flog off the ones I don't like for a bit of a loss or box them back up nicely and make them a gift for somebody that isn't as picky as I am. For a very small fraction of Apple price, I'm sure I'll find something suitable. I'm also guessing that it will be built with common off the shelf batteries so it will be easy to swap them later. I might even be able to find some higher capacity cells to swap out right away for more listening time between charges.

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