Second-generation AirPods Max rumored to launch later in 2022

The rumor: Apple is planning the first AirPods Max refresh for later this year, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Power On).

  • Later this Fall, “Look out for an AirPods Max refresh with new colors (and, we hope, a price drop—$550 is absurd for those headphones),” Gurman says
  • The same overall design will remain, however, as no major updates are expected
  • Since AirPods Pro 2 are expected to gain lossless audio support, it is likely that AirPods Max will as well…but no reports have confirmed this yet
  • AirPods Max were first announced in December 2020, and no updates have happened since then

Ian’s take: I am excited to see the new colors on the AirPods Max! It has been really quiet on that front for a number of months now and I’m ready for something fresh. I would expect Apple to use the same colors of the new iPad Air, but nothing concrete has been reported yet. AirPods Pro 2 are also coming this Fall!

AirPods Max 3E756 firmware released

The news: Apple just released a new version of AirPods Max software, as noted first by MacRumors.

  • Per usual, Apple has not included any release notes for what has changed in this latest update
  • The new 3E756 firmware comes just one day after lossless and Spatial Audio was released on Apple Music

Our take: My gut says this has something to do with yesterday’s music updates, but we won’t know for sure unless Apple confirms it. The March AirPods Max update fixed battery drain issues.

Apple has no plans for AirPods Max 2, but new colors may be coming

The rumor: Apple is not currently planning a follow-up to AirPods Max, according to Mark Gurman (88.7% accurate, via Bloomberg).

  • “Apple only recently caught up with demand for the product, and it is not currently working on a second generation of the AirPods Max” Gurman says
  • Additional colorways could bet coming in the future, however
  • Prior rumors had suggested there was a lower-end version of AirPods Max in the works

Our take: Really disappointed to hear that the low-end version of AirPods Max isn’t happening because I was really looking forward to it. This is the second time we’ve seen Apple go balls-to-the-wall with a high-end audio product and then have no further plans for the device. We first saw this with the 2017 HomePod, and it seems like AirPods Max will follow the same fate. I don’t understand this “let’s introduce a super high-end product that is really great but that no significant portion of the market will ever touch with no plans to ever update it” mentality. But perhaps Beats fills the lower-end gap here…

What’s new in the AirPods Max 3C39 update?

The update: After releasing the first firmware update for AirPods Max earlier this week, we now have confirmation of what exactly has changed, courtesy of Guilherme Rambo.

  • Phantom battery drain has addressed, and AirPods Max now lose battery much slower while in the Smart Case
  • A crash after being connected to a new device has also been fixed in 3C39

Our take: Shoutout to Gui for giving us the release notes Apple didn’t. Glad that both of these issues have been corrected OTA and there was nothing more serious at play here.

AirPods Max 3C39 firmware released

The news: Apple released the first AirPods Max software update since launch on Tuesday morning.

  • Users have been reporting battery drain issues for weeks now, and it’s possible that today’s update fixes that
  • Apple never provides exact release notes for AirPods updates, so this is our best guess currently

Our take: I’ve noticed a lot of inconsistent battery performance on my pair of AirPods Max. Sometimes I don’t have to charge them for a while…and other times they are just dead. Hopefully 3C39 evens things out.

AirPods Max actually have a removable headband

The news: AirPods Max are more modular than we thought, thanks to a new discovery by iFixit.

  • AirPods Max feature a removable headband: using a SIM tool (or paperclip), you poke the small hole at the top of each ear cup after removing the magnetic cushion
  • The ear cushions are also interchangeable…but Apple hasn’t put them on sale just yet

Our take: This is super cool, it’s a feature that we thought got cut…but it’s here! Perhaps this suggests a sport variant is on the way…


AirPods Max ‘Sport’ variant could launch at a later date

The rumor: While Apple recently launched their highest-end AirPods Max offering, a lower-cost model may also be in the pipeline.

  • Over the past few months, both Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate) and Jon Prosser (79.2% accurate) reported on Apple developing a lower-cost ‘Sport’ variant, made of cheaper materials that would be better for activities like working out
  • This sport model, and other features like reversibility and interchangeable head bands, were cut in an effort to get AirPods Max out the door before the end of the year

Our take: I think that Apple should’ve started here before going full-send on a $549 model. A physically lighter sport version, for $349, would be significantly more appealing to me.

AirPods Max tidbits: Find My support, no passive audio & more

The roundup: A day after being announced, we scoured the internet for all the AirPods Max tidbits that Apple has provided thus far.

  • AirPods Max can be located and pinged through the Find My app
  • While placing AirPods Max in the smart case puts them in an ultra-low power mode…they don’t shut off completely
  • Audio output is Lightning to 3.5mm jack only…no USB audio support
  • Lightning-to-3.5mm cable is a $35 add-on
  • There’s no passive audio support…the headphones must be charged to work at all
  • AirPods Max are fully compatible with non-Apple devices…but some special features, like spatial audio, only work when paired to an Apple product
  • Like with Apple Watch Series 6 and iPhone 12, there’s no power brick included in the box
  • Additional/replacement ear cushions can be purchased for $69 (the headband was also supposed to be replaceable, but the feature got scrapped, according to rumors)
  • Engraving may speed up shipping for once

Apple confirms AirPods Max ear cushions will be sold separately, $69 each

The news: Following the launch of AirPods Max earlier, Apple has confirmed that the colored ear cushions will be sold separately.

  • The cushions are available in Silver, Black, Green, Sky Blue and Red…for $69 a pop
  • Apple says they are coming soon, with no confirmed release date just yet

Our take: For a $549 product, $69 cushions seem reasonably priced. But compared to anything else that’s a pretty hefty cost to justify. Great option, though, for those that want the most customization on their AirPods Max.

Over-ear AirPods Max released for $549 with noise cancellation and more

The news: Apple just released the highly-anticipated over-ear version of AirPods early Tuesday morning.

  • AirPods Max feature a retro design and come in 5 colors: green, red, blue, black and white
  • Major features: Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Transparency mode, spatial audio and 20 hours of battery life
  • A special carrying case is also included (see below)
  • The new AirPods retail for a whopping $550, and will be available on December 15

Our take: These are the high-end headphones we have been waiting for! And previewed yesterday.