There are tons of different options to choose from when it comes to headphones. Over-the-ear, earbud, wireless, wired and any other variation you can dream up.
You also have your choice of price points. There are decent budget headphones on the market for less than $50. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can find some that will cost you hundreds of dollars with every feature imaginable. Given all of the options, it can be tough to choose the best pair of headphones.
We’re about to get another exciting new addition, too. After months of rumors, it looks like Apple is finally going to release its new over-the-ear headphones. Will these new headphones surpass the other AirPod options on the market — and more importantly, how much will they cost? Let’s take a look.
Apple’s new headphones are finally here
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the speculation about Apple’s new headphones, we have good news. The tech giant has finally confirmed that it will soon be releasing the AirPods Max, its new over-the-ear headphones.
This is the first time Apple has released an over-the-ear headphone option, and from what we can tell, they look pretty modern and sleek. There’s a stainless steel headband frame with “telescoping headband arms,” memory foam-padded earcups and adjustable dials that can be used to adjust volume and control music.
AirPods Max will be available in a range of colors, including space gray, silver, sky blue, green and pink once they hit the market.
Spiffy looks aren’t all AirPods Max has going for them, either. As expected, these headphones are going to offer a ton of high-end features, including:
- High-fidelity sound
- Custom acoustic design
- H1 chips
- Adaptive EQ
- Active noise cancellation
- Transparency mode
- Spatial audio
“AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design. With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips, and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience.”
While these standout features are valuable additions, it’s important to note that many of them are already available with AirPods Pro. The difference is if you want to get your hands on a pair of these new Apple headphones, it’s going to cost you quite a bit more than you’d spend on the Pros.
While AirPods Pro will run you about $249, the new AirPods Max will cost you a whopping $549 when they roll out. Yikes!
That’s not just a price hike from the Pros. It’s also a much higher price than you’d pay for most of the comparable high-end headphones. It’s also more than you’d pay for some variations of the Apple Watch and some entry-level iPhones. In other words, these headphones are extremely expensive.
AirPods Max won’t hit the market until Dec. 15, so you have a few days to start saving your pennies if you want to invest in a pair. However, before you buy a pair, you should know that these headphones have some perks that only work with other Apple devices. If you’re planning to snag a pair to use with your Android phone, you may want to think twice about whether they’re worth the investment.
Cheaper alternatives to AirPods Max
If you’re hesitant to spend over $500 on a new pair of AirPods Max, there are plenty of other good options to choose from. These Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless headphones will cost you about half of what the Max will, and they offer some solid features. You’ll get the best noise-canceling technology and superior sound quality. The 30-hour battery life is also a huge plus for these headphones.
These Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are another solid option. You’ll pay less than half of what you would for the AirPods Max, but you won’t have to compromise on features. The audio quality is unrivaled, and the noise-canceling features help elevate the listening experience to the next level.
If you’d rather invest in a budget pair, you might like these Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones. They’ll cost you less than $60, and offer 40 hours of playtime, high-tech bass control and a ton of other features.
Have to have AirPods? The base models are harder to find right now, but you can still get the Pro on sale for about $50 off.
More information on Apple Fitness+
The Max headphones weren’t the only recent Apple announcement. More details about Fitness+ were just released, too. Fitness+ is Apple’s first fitness experience and it’s designed to help you train and stay fit from your home.
Apple Fitness+ features include:
- World-class workouts from top-notch trainers
- New workouts each week
- Studio-style video classes
- A wide range of activities for every fitness level
- Fitness metric tracking
This new platform is built to integrate with the Apple Watch, but it works with most Apple devices, including iPad and iPhone devices. It will be launching on Monday, Dec. 14 — right before the AirPods Max hit the market.
If you’re interested in Fitness+, there are a number of ways to get access, including:
- Fitness+ subscriptions will be available for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
- Apple Fitness+ is included in the Apple One Premier plan, which, where available, also gives customers access to Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 per month. They can be shared among up to six family members.
- Three months of Apple Fitness+ are included for customers who purchase Apple Watch Series 3 or later, and one month of Fitness+ is included for existing Apple Watch users.