Apple announces the AirPods Max, its first set of over-ear headphones

Apple unveils the AirPods Max.
Photo credit: Apple

Apple has unveiled its first set of luxury, over-ear headphones that will compete with the likes of Sony and Bose - but cost about double the price.

The AirPods Max will be available in New Zealand from December 15 and launch with an RRP of NZ$999.

Apple says the noise-cancelling wireless headphones offer a "breakthrough listening experience", for which the company is betting customers will be happy to pay around twice what they would for the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or Sony WH-1000XM4.

That initial price makes a pair of Apple's headphones more expensive than a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.

The AirPods Max will feature a 40-mm dynamic driver designed by Apple, along with the company's own H1 chip. 

It'll feature head-tracking technology to deliver spatial audio, the company says, along with adaptive EQ that will adjust audio on the fly.

The design of Apple's AirPods Max.
Photo credit: Apple

In terms of the battery, Apple says you'll get about 20 hours per charge. But to recharge, you're expected to already have something to plug the Lightning cable into - as with the latest iPhones, a power adaptor won't come with the AirPods Max, but you can buy one from Apple as an extra purchase.

In terms of design, there is no large logo on the sides as there is with Beats headphones - also owned by Apple. The AirPods Max will come in five colours: space grey, green, sky blue, pink and silver.

The colour options of Apple's AirPods Max range.
Photo credit: Apple

Apple says the AirPods Max will require devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later.

The headphones are available for pre-order now.