Three things are true with one thing left to be determined:
- The AirPods Max look great
- The AirPods Max look expensive
- The AirPods Max are expensive
- The AirPods Max are great
We’ll see about number four soon enough, as Apple — not completely surprisingly — dropped a “one more thing” holiday gift this morning (shipping next week!). The AirPods have been my favorite Apple product of the past decade. The AirPods Pro made them a bit better with crazy noise cancellation in such a small package.¹ The AirPods Max…
…are $550. For that price, they better up the ante substantially from an already insanely high bar. But I see no reason to believe Apple can’t pull that off given the history with this product.² And again, these things look beautiful. Very Apple.³ If Apple can truly cross the chasm of luxury items and status symbols, the AirPods Max may be able to capitalize where Apple Watch tried, but could not.
As for where that leaves Beats, the brand perhaps better known for said status symbol versus actual sound, it’s unclear. Presumably, they continue on as the more fun, colorful, edgy brand of headphones (at better price points).
Interesting to see the ‘Max’ branding used here. These are certainly bigger than the other AirPods! But ‘Max’ would also seem to suggest more premium, better sound, bigger price, etc. Yet, you’ll note that they don’t have the ‘Pro’ moniker as well. Might we see an AirPods Pro Max?! For the sake of the branding gods, I hope not.
Also fun to see the Apple Watch dial repurposed.⁴
¹ Though I believe I still prefer the fit of the original AirPods — and I know I’m not alone there. They were just perfect for my ears (which I know was not the case for everyone).
² Though, for the love of god, please make them more reliable right out of the gate. I’ve had multiple AirPods failures over the years — namely with the Pros — to the point where I’ve had to get them replaced several times.
³ But what on Earth is that case?!
⁴ The commercial video is fun as well, a bit different than what you might normally expect to see from Apple in year’s past!