Apple has one more thing for the holiday shopping season: over-the-ear, wireless headphones that will test how much people are willing to splurge for high-quality sound — and noise-cancelling silence.
The headphones, called AirPods Max, will cost $549 — far more than similar products from Bose and Sony that offer many of the same features, such as noise cancellation. The lofty price is more than double what it costs to buy Apple’s in-ear wireless headphones.
Apple began accepting orders for the AirPods Max on Tuesday, but they won’t be in stores until December 15.
The announcement of the long-rumored headphones caps one of Apple’s busiest autumns in years, despite a pandemic that has kept most of its engineers, along with the most of the rest of the country, at home to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. Since September, Apple has rolled out its next generation of Mac computers that will run on its own internally designed processors instead of chips made by Intel., four and
Some of the new products have included lower-priced options likely to appeal to consumers struggling to make ends meet during a pandemic-driven recession that many experts say may worsen unless Congress acts quickly to approve ato help support the economy until vaccines are widely distributed.
The scaled-down Apple Watch model, called Apple Watch SE, costs $279, notably less than the $399 asking price for the high-end Series 6. The cheaper watch followed on the heels of a budget iPhone the company released in April as the economy cratered and unemployment rates rose to a 90-year high.
But the AirPods Max are clearly intended for Apple’s more affluent customers looking for the best in acoustics. The over-the-ear headphones aim to expand upon the popularity of the wireless ear buds that Apple first released four years ago after eliminating the headphone jack from its iPhones. The in-ear AirPods sell for $159 to $249.
Apple overestimated how much its loyal fans are willing to pay for high-quality sound when it released its internet-connected speaker, the HomePod, in 2018. The HomePod originally cost $349, far more than other internet-connected speakers from Amazon and Google. Apple eventually reduced the HomePod to $299 and last month released a smaller version of the speaker that sells for $99.