Technology Brief: AirPods Max

Beautifully and incredibly thoughtful design. I love the Apple Watch cues and of course, the ‘magic’ of AirPods carries over to these in the W1 chip which, design aside, is the key to AirPods’ success over the last few years. I’m sure it sounds good enough. The price well I was expecting $350 and not $550. 

My Shure SRH840s are a little bit lighter than these but are wired and never need to be recharged and are quite comfortable at $129. They’re good enough for Taylor Swift (featured heavily in her Disney+ Folklore Special). Shure’s SRH line of headphones are reference monitors which aren’t always ideal for general consumer use but if you’re an Apple Music customer and iPhone owner, the AirPod Max will probably be great because Apple’s audio division is tuning everything together from iTunes Master to your ears. 

I won’t be purchasing these until generation 2 and for two reasons. First, the cost is too much. Apple at this point knows that their AirPods line has suffered from battery issues for a while. These are 2-year lifespan headphones. After 2 years, the batteries need servicing to extend the life. I’ve purchased 3 sets of AirPods now and would have much preferred spending that same amount of money up front on a premium pair of in-earphones from Shure instead. I would lack the magic of the W1 but I wouldn’t be contributing to E-Waste.

Usable life and price means these aren’t for me. I’ve owned my SRH840s since 2007 and my SE530s since 2006. I still use each of them on a daily and weekly basis respectively and I love their sound quality. Apple’s AirPods will never be able to match the usable life OR sound quality of these. AirPods are just magical bluetooth calling earphones. They’re great but not something I use to listen to music. Maybe the AirPods Max would replace my SRH840s for my iMac long work sessions headphone but I’d love if if the battery was user serviceable. If that was the case and it was $100 cheaper, I may consider it. 

They ARE beautiful though. 

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