Apple AirPods Max 2 latest: specs, price and other rumors
The AirPods Max are certainly due for an update. Apple’s premium first-generation headphones were first launched in 2020, and not much has been said since then, but the company has since rolled out Apple Music lossless streaming – something its most expensive headphones don’t support.
We were expecting the AirPods Max 2 in late 2022, complete with a refreshed design and upgraded specs. Instead, in September 2022, Apple released AirPods Pro (2nd generation), which came with improved active noise cancellation and some new features that we’d like to see in the AirPods Max 2 at some point.
The 2nd generation AirPods Pro came with an H2 chip, which offered fatter bass and a wider frequency range. They also offered Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, improved noise cancellation and a conversation amplification feature that allows those with hearing problems to hear conversations more clearly. These are all things that we would like to see on the Airpods Max 2.0. However, there was no support for lossless, which is what we’ve come to expect with the AirPods Max 2.
We gave the existing headphones a 4/5 in our AirPods Max test thanks to the impressive sound, but we were disappointed with the housing and some other more practical aspects. We’d expect a step up from that in AirPods Max 2. But what else do you need to know about Apple’s next-gen headphones? let’s find out
AirPods Max 2: Possible release date and price
We were once quietly confident that the AirPods Max 2 release date would be sometime in late 2022. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted a fall 2022 launch. Gurman has one of the strongest track records for Apple leaks, but apparently that prediction hasn’t come true.
According to the analyst at TF International Securities Ming-Chi Kuo in a series of tweets, Apple aims to ship its next batch of AirPods products in the second half of 2024 or early 2025. These include the AirPods Max 2 and, interestingly, a cheaper set of AirPods. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is targeting a price of $99 for these new buds, or around £100 in the UK. They’re still not cheap, but they don’t cost more than £500 either.
We think this is pretty late for AirPods Max 2, and we’re pretty confident the reality is somewhere in between, which could still mean 2023.
As for the price, there’s not too much going for it. In Gurman’s report, he mentioned hoping for a price drop, but didn’t say if there would be. AirPods 2 debuted at the same price as the original AirPods, so we may get the same luxury with the Max successor. AirPods Max are currently $549 / £549, so expect a number in the same range.
AirPods Max 2 theme
This is where things get a little more interesting. Gurman’s report stated that we should expect new colors in the updated AirPods Max. The original device debuted in Space Gray, Silver, Green, Pink, and Sky Blue, so the product doesn’t shy away from pops of color.
While Gurman didn’t elaborate on what to expect, we can take inspiration from the 2021 iMac. Expect lighter colors in the same pastel shade. Like the latest iPhone 14 variant, could we be going yellow? Red? Yes, please. Purple? Come here. iPhone 12 and subsequent iPad models have a purple option, so we’d be hedging our bets on those.
According to a patent Apple holds, the company is working on touch controls rather than the Digital Crown. Apparently, this feature was intended for AirPods Max when it first came out, but Apple couldn’t get it right. Assuming Apple works on it again, it’s safe to assume that the loss of the Digital Crown will be a big design differentiator.
After all, who could talk about AirPods Max without mentioning the controversial case? Although designed for comfort, the bra/purse-like design has drawn a lot of criticism. Admittedly, the case looks a little silly and doesn’t offer much protection.
A patent recently spotted by Patently Apple suggests changes are on the way, with a fully enclosed case held together by magnets. It would certainly better protect the headband from scuffs or scratches than the current case.
AirPods Max 2 features and specifications
As mentioned above, Apple is working on touch controls for AirPods Max 2, which would be a brand new feature for the headphones. Should Apple decide to tweak the case as well, we might look for a way to turn off the headphones without the stupid magnets in the case and a “low-power” mode.
Other new features could include improved active noise cancellation. Thanks to yet another patent, we can see that Apple is working on tweaking its ANC to better avoid audio howling and feedback. While we haven’t seen any complaints about these issues, we welcome any improvements to the already impressive noise-cancelling feature.
Another patent (see a trend?) explains that Apple is working on a new optical audio transmission technology. It’s a snazzy new alternative to Bluetooth that would allow Apple to deliver lossless audio wirelessly. We’d expect this from Apple’s high-end headphones, especially since Apple Music supports lossless audio. Other alternatives for lossless audio support include an AirPlay-like feature.
Of course, Apple may not be pursuing any of these patents. But if we’re going to see them anywhere, we’d expect AirPods Max 2 thanks to the premium offering. As this update is a minor update, we wouldn’t expect too many more new features. Expect a specification increase in the drivers behind the headphones, improving the already excellent audio quality. And get ready for a cheeky extra feature that Apple is hiding up its sleeve.