These new over-ear AirPods offer active noise cancellation to help you focus on what you're listening to, with three microphones on the outside of each ear cup to detect environmental noise. There's also one microphone on the inside of each earcup to monitor the sound going into your ear. The AirPods Max use computational audio to adapt to the headphones' fit and movement in real time.
Just like the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max also have a Transparency Mode that'll help you hear the things around you.
The AirPods Max include a 40mm Apple-designed driver that the company says "provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extension". An Ambient EQ feature will tweak the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions, adjusting the low and mid frequencies in real time, and Spatial Audio can place sounds virtually in a space for more immersive audio with content recording in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos.
Similar to the earbuds versions of the AirPods, the over-ear AirPods Max can quickly and easily pair and connect to your other Apple devices, including the iPhone and iPad. The headphones can automatically detect when you put them on and begin playback, and they'll pause audio when you take them off or just lift one ear cup.
The AirPods Max also feature Siri support to let you use your voice to play and control music, make phone calls, get directions, and have your incoming messages read to you. If you prefer physical controls, there's an Apple Watch-style Digital Crown on the top of one ear cup that can control volume, play and pause audio, change tracks, answer and end calls, and summon Siri.
Battery life on the AirPods Max is rated at 20 hours of audio playback with active noise cancellation enabled. The headphones come with a soft Smart Case that put them into an ultra-low power state to help preserve your battery life when they're not in use. The AirPods Max charge using Apple's Lightning connector and they include a Lightning-to-USB-C cable.
As for the construction of the AirPods Max, there's a breathable knit mesh canopy across the headband plus a stainless steel frame to provide strength and flexibility for different head shapes and sizes. The telescoping headband arms can extend, and the ear cups can independently pivot and rotate to better fit your head. Each ear cup also includes memory foam to help create a better seal around your ears.