Freshly Squeezed OpEd: My $.02 On AirPods Max

Dec 8, 2020 | OpEd | 0 comments

This morning, Apple released their Christmas surprise. And many were surprised, very surprised. Let’s take a deep dive.

Pros: Here is where I’ll begin and I hope to put the announcement into perspective.

The AirPods Max are supposed to further enhance the experience of the AirPod Pros line. Noise cancellation, transparency, pausing your song or program when you remove the headphones, Spatial Audio, and adaptive audio.

From what I’ve read, Apple is bringing the same audio mastery that they’ve brought to their other audio products. As an example, each ear cup has its own H1 chip for quality audio reproduction.

The design in my eyes is refreshing. Having been involved in music and other audio projects over the years. I find it invigorating that form has followed function. Apparently earphones don’t have to appear as box-girder bridges assembled on top of your head. They appear to have comfortable ear cushions filled with memory foam.

Cons: I find two are predominant. Obviously, there is the price. A little research has shown me, the average price for Bluetooth quality earphones is roughly $350. Yes, you can find cheaper sets but they’re designed mainly for gaming and social interaction. But there are different requirements for headphones used for serious music listening.

There’s one feature which was rumored but wasn’t included. It was thought Apple would enable the headphones to orient the sound no matter which way you placed them on your head. In other words, whatever cup was placed on your left ear would automatically default to the left channel. I find that disappointing.

On a completely different track, the naming scheme I find to be a positive step in a direction Apple is seemingly headed. It would appear Apple has finally settled on a three/four-tiered system. You need only to look at the suffixes: I.e., AirPods, AirPod Pros, AirPods Max or iPhone Mini/SE, iPhone, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Max. It reminds me of Steve Jobs’ division of Apple’s product line into quadrants: consumer laptops, consumer desktops, professional laptops, and professional desktops.

As such, it would appear the demographic for the AirPods Max is the audiophile (or a banker}. Whether or not they’ve met their expectations we will only know once they have been released. Audiophiles prefer (adamantly) to listen to their music through wired connections. Wireless usually brings latency. What they make of AirPods Max after repeated listenings will tell.

Are you gonna buy a pair? If you do, once you listen to whatever-have-you with them, please leave me a comment below, as I’m interested in your opinions.

Be safe, be well.

©2020 Frank Petrie


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