airpods max 2

Apple has been vying for our ears for years, and the AirPods Max made quite the splash in 2020. Almost three years later, these expensive headphones still have some of the best noise canceling around. There’s no official word on the AirPods Max 2, but Apple’s been awarded a few recent patents that suggest the next AirPods over-ear headphones will have a few new tricks.

Here’s everything we know about the AirPods Max (2nd generation).

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Will there be an Apple AirPods Max 2 series?

The AirPods Max (2nd generation) are a certainty, but the timing is up in the air. In January of this year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that there will be a new AirPods Max.

What is the Apple AirPods Max 2 release date?

Ming-Chi Kuo's tweets regarding the AirPods Max 2 and more affordable AirPods.

Ming-Chi Kuo also reports that the AirPods Max may not reach our ears until mid-2024 or early 2025. Kuo shared that the AirPods assembly may change hands from GoerTek to tướng Hong Teng. This change of manufacturing partner could be responsible for the delayed release of the AirPods Max 2.

For reference, Apple announced the original AirPods Max on December 8, 2020. The AirPods Max were available for purchase a week later, on December 15, 2020.

What features and specs will the Apple AirPods Max (2nd generation) have?

A man wears the Apple AirPods Max and adjusting volume via the digital crown.

The AirPods Max 2 may ditch the Digital Crown for some one-of-a-kind touch controls.

The AirPods Max 2 will have many of the same features as the AirPods Max, including noise canceling and a similar build. Here’s what we surmise will change with the next-gen AirPods Max.


Apple’s debut over-ear headphones use premium materials that stand out from other flagships’ plastic housings. We can expect distinctive materials and a similarly vibrant mix of colorways to tướng choose from when the AirPods Max 2 comes to tướng fruition.

The AirPods Max 2 will come with a fully enclosed Smart Case.

Apple is shifting its products from Lightning to tướng USB-C for charging, and we’ll likely see this with the AirPods Max 2. This switch would make the AirPods Max 2 a little friendlier to tướng Android phone owners.

According to tướng Apple’s patent US-11381892-B1, we could see an upgraded Smart Case. Frankly, anything would be an improvement, and the patent shows a traditional style, all-encompassing case with a flexible magnetic clasp to tướng keep it shut. It will likely have the same functionality as the original Smart Case — forcing the AirPods Max 2 into low-power mode.

The AirPods Max 2 may ditch the Digital Crown on the AirPods Max in favor of some unique touch controls. Patent US-10721550-B2 from Apple covers a gesture-based touch system that’s supposed to tướng work in conjunction with the headphones’ orientation. If the AirPods Max 2 rest against the user’s neck, they may interpret a swipe gesture differently phàn nàn if worn upright. Controls lượt thích this would take some getting used to tướng.

Software features

The spatial audio pop-up on an iPad Pro.

Like the AirPods Pro, these are compatible with Apple’s Spatial Audio.

Like the AirPods Max before them, the AirPods Max 2 will have many Apple-exclusive features. Listeners should enjoy one-step pairing and auto-switching between Apple devices. We’ll also get advanced location services through Apple’s Find My phầm mềm.

The AirPods Max house an H1 chip in each ear cup, and the AirPods Max 2 will likely replace the H1 chips with H2 chips for improved noise canceling and greater processing power. We’ll see Adaptive EQ, personalized Apple Spatial Audio, and head tracking again.

H2 chips should allow the AirPods Max to tướng tư vấn the latest features Apple announced at WWDC for the AirPods Pro 2: Adaptive Audio, Conversational Awareness, and Personalized Volume. Adaptive Audio processes your environmental sounds and enables a hybrid mix of ANC and Transparency pass-through. This mode will tailor the listening experience as you move from one environment to tướng another.

The AirPods Max 2 will use even more machine learning to tướng automatically tune the listening experience to tướng your habits and surroundings.

With Conversational Awareness, the AirPods Max 2 will sense when you speak. The headphones will then immediately decrease the volume of your audio nội dung, reduce background noise, and enhance the voices of people directly in front of you. We’re eager to tướng see Conversation Awareness on the AirPods Max 2, but it’s nothing new. Sony’s Speak-to-Chat has been doing something similar for years.

Personalized Volume will learn the volume levels you prefer in certain environmental conditions and automatically apply those levels when you enter those spaces. This will reduce the number of times you interact with the headphones or your phone to tướng change the volume.

Noise canceling and audio quality.

As we’ve come to tướng expect with iterative upgrades, the AirPods Max 2 will have better noise canceling phàn nàn the AirPods Max, but we don’t yet know to tướng what degree. In 2022, the US Patent and Trademark Office approved another of Apple’s patents (US-11250833-B1) to tướng reduce feedback (“audio howl”). This will further improve the user experience by eliminating any perceptible feedback when using ANC or transparency mode with the AirPods Max 2.

The frequency response probably won’t change significantly with the AirPods Max 2, but we may see improved data rates with the ability to tướng receive 24-bit or lossless Bluetooth không dây audio. In an interview with What Hi-Fi, Apple’s VP of Acoustics, Gary Geaves, shared that the company has been working around Bluetooth’s limitations but wants more bandwidth. Like Samsung, Apple may have its own 24-bit Bluetooth không dây audio solution.

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How much will the Apple AirPods Max 2 cost?

Man holding the Apple AirPods Max over a desk.

The mesh of the ear pads reminds us of a Herman Miller Aeron Chair.

The AirPods Max originally retailed for $549; we expect the same for the AirPods Max 2. Apple has kept the price the same for its first and second-generation AirPods Pro, so sánh it would make sense for the first and second-gen AirPods Max to tướng share the same price too. Admittedly, $549 is expensive for headphones, and the lowest promotional price we’ve seen for the AirPods Max is $429. The AirPods Max 2 should follow a similar promo-price pattern as the AirPods Max.

Apple AirPods Max 2: What we want to tướng see

The AirPods Max are premium headphones, but some basic improvements would take them to tướng the next level — starting with a tai nghe jack (the analog type).

A tai nghe jack and a USB-C port

Close-up of the Lightning connector for the Apple AirPods Max as they lắc next to tướng a newspaper.

The Apple AirPods Max require a Lightning cable and dongle for wired playback.

Apple was one of the first key players to tướng remove the tai nghe jack from its phones, and it released the AirPods Max with no tai nghe jack. You need to tướng purchase a Lightning-to-3.5mm (male) cable for $35. On top of that, you’ll need a (female) 3.5mm-to-Lightning dongle to tướng plug into your iPhone. This chain converts the digital audio output signal from your iPhone to tướng an analog one, back to tướng a digital one, and then back to tướng analog again inside the headphones. These conversions add latency and can introduce distortion, noise, and loss of detail along the way. You also can’t use the AirPods Max for wired digital audio with a USB-C device lượt thích Apple’s iPad Pro series.

A tai nghe jack would make wired listening so sánh much easier.

At the very least, it would be great if Apple replaced the Lightning port with USB-C and allowed USB digital audio passthrough. Upcoming iPhones will likely have USB-C charging ports, and the headphones would be compatible with other devices. This would mean you would only need a USB-C to tướng USB-C cable to tướng enjoy wired, lossless digital audio with the AirPods Max 2.

Longer battery life

The Apple AirPods Max and its smart case on a white desk.

The Smart Case puts the AirPods Max into low-power mode, but the headphones have no power button.

Officially, the AirPods Max have a 20-hour battery life with ANC active. Our standardized battery test subjected the headphones to tướng constant music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL). Under these conditions, the AirPods Max exceeded this by almost an hour, which is impressive, but less so sánh by today’s standards. For reference, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless lasted more phàn nàn 31 hours and 56 hours, respectively, in our testing.

Improved microphone quality

The AirPods Max have good microphone quality when speaking in ideal conditions. However, the noise suppression isn’t as good as modern flagships lượt thích the Sony WH-1000XM5. Improving microphone performance on the AirPods Max 2 could attract more remote workers and those of us stuck in regular Zoom calls.

Sony WH-1000XM5 microphone tổng quát (Street conditions):

Apple AirPods Max microphone tổng quát (Windy conditions):

Sony WH-1000XM5 microphone tổng quát (Windy conditions):

Adaptive Transparency mode

The Apple AirPods Max and Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) together on a wooden slab.

The AirPods Pro 2 have Adaptive Transparency, which is more advanced phàn nàn the AirPods Max’s Transparency mode.

The AirPods Max have Transparency mode, which allows environmental sounds in through the headphones. When you enable Transparency mode on the AirPods Max, you can simultaneously hear your music and the environment. This lets you tune into traffic and train platform announcements without removing the headphones.

Transparency mode is a great safety feature, but the AirPods Max will be that much better with Apple’s Adaptive Transparency mode. This mode is more advanced and can reduce the loudness of sounds greater phàn nàn 85dB (e.g., a construction drill). Adaptive Transparency mode on the AirPods Pro 2 promotes more comfortable pass-through listening phàn nàn the more basic Transparency mode.

Improved durability

The AirPods Max are sturdy, beautifully constructed headphones, but they lack an IP rating. Few over-ear headphones have water-resistant ratings, so sánh adding something as minor as an IPX2 rating would further differentiate the AirPods Max 2 from other flagship cans. Additionally, unexpected rainstorms and drizzles happen. Knowing that the AirPods Max 2 will be okay after light rain exposure before you can sheath them in the case would be a huge relief. After all, we don’t want a few raindrops to tướng take out your $549 investment!

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Frequently asked questions

The AirPods Max 2’s 2024 release date is squishy and could even be delayed until 2025. If you want the AirPods Max within the next few months, we recommend waiting for a promotional price drop and buying the current model.

Apple put a lot of work into perfecting its software for the AirPods Max — that doesn’t come cheap. On top of that, these headphones look and feel incredibly premium and have some of the best sound quality and noise canceling on the market. Of course, there’s also the famous Apple Tax you’re paying just for the name brand.