AirPods Max 2: Everything we know about features and launch date

Apple’s AirPods Max were launched two years ago, but rumors of a successor are still thin on the ground, so what exactly can we expect from the AirPods Max‌ 2?

After months of rumors, the ‘AirPods Max’ started reaching customers two years ago today, but now the device seems to be showing its age, with the second generation AirPods Pro adding a host of technological innovations that AirPods Max lacks, such as Adaptive Transparency, resistance IPX4-rated sweat and water, skin detection sensors, and a U1 chip for precise searching with Find My.

Although it is likely that the next generation AirPods Max will gain many of the features mentioned above, there have been surprisingly few rumors about the device. In May 2021, bloombergApple hasn’t been actively working on the second generation AirPods Max, Apple’s Mark Gurman said, and previous talk of updating the color options for the first generation seems to have died down.

New features

The most recent mention of a second-generation model was Gurman’s claim in October that the next version of “AirPods Max” will feature USB-C and launch “by 2024.” Other than this single feature, we don’t have any concrete rumors from reliable sources about what the new model could offer – but there are some clues that could provide some interesting pointers about what to expect.

In 2020, Gorman said that the “AirPods Max”, which at the time was thought of as “AirPods Studio”, suffered from many development challenges, such as problems with the headband being too tight, resulting in multiple delays and reduced functionality. It seems plausible that after several more years of iteration on aspects that did not reach the first version of the device, the second generation of “AirPods Max” could offer some of these features that were initially scrapped.

It was originally thought that the “AirPods Max” would offer unique customization with interchangeable headbands and ear cups, like the Apple Watch straps. Amid these delays and development issues, bloomberg Expect Apple to ditch the replaceable headband concept to speed up production.

Evidence of this concept can be seen in the final AirPods Max design. Users can easily remove the headband from AirPods Max without any disassembly of the headphones. To do this, users simply need to remove the magnetic earbuds, fold the earcups flat, and insert the SIM ejector tool into a small slot above the speaker.

Once the earpieces are removed, the spokes on either side of the headband reveal a small Lightning connector for transmitting power, and possibly data, between the earcups. This system for removing the headband could be a relic of the original, more stereotypical approach of the AirPods Max. The earcups are magnetically removable and can be easily swapped for a different color.

airpods max ear cups
Moreover, it was believed that the “AirPods Max” would have a left and right ear detection feature so that users could reverse the orientation of the headphones, as well as touch pads on the ear cushions for control. It appears to have been replaced by the Digital Crown from the Apple Watch in the final product.

Rumors also indicated that the AirPods Max will be available in two variants, including a more expensive Sport model. Leaker Jon Prosser has repeatedly said that the “AirPods Max” will come in a “sport-like variant” for $350 and a “luxury variant” for $599. While the Prosser’s $599 price tag wasn’t far from its final retail price of $549, the cheaper $350 “Sports variant” is yet to appear. Apple could still release this lower-end version of the “AirPods Max” at some point in the future.

Based on the above information, the second generation AirPods Max could offer some of these features:

The AirPods Max 2 in particular is rumored

  • USB-C port instead of Lightning
  • New color options

Original AirPods Max rumored but deleted

  • Interchangeable headband for more visual customization options
  • Automatic detection of the left and right ear
  • Touch pads on the ear cushions for volume control
  • Low cost sports model

AirPods Pro features that AirPods Max can support

  • H2 chips
  • Active noise cancellation is two times better
  • Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity
  • Adaptive transparency
  • Conversation boost
  • Skin detection sensors
  • U1 chip to detect accuracy with Find My‌
  • Sweat and water resistance rated IPX4
  • Improved battery life
  • MagSafe charging

Lunch date

At least one new AirPods product has been released every year since 2019. So far, Apple seems to wait two and a half to three years to update each AirPods, and since 2019, a different product line of AirPods has been updated every year. According to this pattern, “AirPods Max” should The next AirPods to receive an update is probably somewhere between June and November 2023.

  1. AirPods (1st generation): September 2016
  2. AirPods (2nd generation): March 2019 (two years and six months after the previous generation)
  3. AirPods Pro (1st generation): October 2019
  4. AirPods Max: December 2020
  5. AirPods (3rd generation): October 2021 (two years and six months after the previous generation)
  6. AirPods Pro‌ (2nd generation): September 2022 (2 years and 11 months after the previous generation)
  7. AirPods Max (2nd generation): June-November 2023?

Apple could, of course, wait much longer to update the device. Earlier launch dates don’t always indicate Apple’s future plans, but they can provide insights into what patterns to expect from the company. There is even a slight chance that there are no plans to update the AirPods Max, as the product is likely to suffer the same fate as the HomePod. It’s simply too early to get into the rumor cycle right now.

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