Apple’s AirPods Max launched two years ago today, but rumors about a successor are still thin, so what exactly can we expect from the “AirPods Max” 2?
After months of rumors, “AirPods Max” started hitting customers two years ago today, but the device now seems to be showing its age as the second-generation AirPods Pro add a host of tech innovations like Adaptive, which AirPods Max lacked. Transparency, IPX4 rated sweat and water resistance, skin detection sensors and U1 chip for Precision Finding with Find My.
While it looks like the next-gen AirPods Max will have most of the above features, there are surprisingly few rumors about the device. in May 2021 Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said that Apple is not actively working on the second-generation AirPods Max, and previous talk about refreshing the color options for the first-gen has subsided.
The latest mention of a second-generation model was in October when Gurman claimed that the next version of the AirPods Max will feature USB-C and be released “in 2024”. Beyond this single feature, we don’t have any concrete rumors from reliable sources about what the new model has to offer – but there is some evidence that could provide some interesting indications of what to expect.
In 2020, Gürman said that “AirPods Max”, which was thought to be called “AirPods Studio” at the time, suffered from several development challenges, such as the headband being too tight, causing multiple lags and scaling back in functionality. After repeating aspects that were not included in the first version of the device for a few more years, it seems plausible that the second generation “AirPods Max” will offer some of these features that were initially scrapped.
It was originally believed that “AirPods Max” would offer unparalleled customizability, with interchangeable headbands and earpieces, just like Apple Watch straps. Among these delays and development issues, Bloomberg He predicted that Apple would abandon the concept of an interchangeable headband to speed up production.
Proof of this concept can be seen in the latest AirPods Max design. Users can easily remove the headband from AirPods Max without removing the earphones. To do this, users just need to remove the magnetic ear pads, fold the earphones flat, and insert a SIM card ejection tool into a small hole above the speaker.
Once the earphones are removed, the rails on either side of the headband reveal a tiny Lightning-style connector for power and potentially data transfer between the earcups. It is possible that this system for removing the headband is a remnant of the original, more modular approach to the “AirPods Max”. The ear cups are magnetically removable and can be easily replaced with a different color.
It was also believed that the “AirPods Max” would feature left and right ear detection, so users could reverse the direction of the earphones and also have touchpads on the earcups for controls. This appears to have been replaced with the Digital Crown from the Apple Watch in the final product.
Rumors also suggested that the AirPods Max will be offered in two variants, including a more affordable sports-focused model. Leaker Jon Prosser has repeatedly said that the “AirPods Max” will come in a “sports-like variant” for $350 and a “luxury variant” for $599. While Prosser’s $599 price tag isn’t far from the final $549 “AirPods Max” retail price, the cheaper $350 “sport variant” has yet to be revealed. Apple may release this lower-end version of the AirPods Max sometime in the future.
Based on the above information, the second generation “AirPods Max” may offer some of these features:
Rumors Specifically for the AirPods Max 2
- USB-C port instead of Lightning
- New color options
Rumors For Original AirPods Max But Skipped
- Interchangeable headband for more visual customization options
- Automatic left and right ear detection
- Touchpads on the earcups for volume controls
- Low-cost sports-oriented model
AirPods Pro Features that AirPods Max Can Adopt
- H2 chips
- Up to twice as good Active Noise Cancellation
- Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity
- Adaptive Transparency
- Speech Acceleration
- skin detection sensors
- U1 chip for Precision Finding with Find My
- IPX4 rated sweat and water resistance
- Improved battery life
- MagSafe charge
At least one new AirPods product has been released every year since 2019. To date, Apple seems to wait two and a half to three years to update each AirPods device, and since 2019, a different line of AirPods has been updated every year. According to this pattern, AirPods Max should possibly somewhere between June and November 2023, be the next AirPods device to refurbish.
- AirPods (first generation): September 2016
- AirPods (second generation): March 2019 (two years and six months after the previous generation)
- AirPods Pro (first generation): October 2019
- AirPods Max: December 2020
- AirPods (third generation): October 2021 (two years and six months after the previous generation)
- AirPods Pro (second generation): September 2022 (two years and 11 months from the previous generation)
- AirPods Max (second generation): June – November 2023?
Apple, of course, can wait even longer to update the device. Past launch dates don’t always indicate Apple’s future plans, but they can provide insights into models to expect from the company. There is even a small chance that there are no plans to update the AirPods Max as the product will potentially suffer the same fate as the HomePod. It’s too early to tell right now in the rumor cycle.