The AirPods Max are the most expensive set of AirPods that Apple manufactures, beating the £249/$249 AirPods Pro by a whopping £300/$300. It’s safe to say they aren’t going to sell as many as the cheaper AirPods, but there’s a lot to love about the AirPods Max, including incredible audio quality and exceptional noise cancellation.
But despite impressive performance on offer from the AirPods Max, there will most likely be a second-gen pair of cans released at some point in the next few years. Here’s all you need to know about the expected release and pricing of the second-gen AirPods Max, along with what we’d like to see based on our time using the high-end cans.
When will the AirPods Max 2 be released?
If you’re already looking forward to the next-gen AirPods Max, we’ve got bad news: you’ll be waiting for quite some time.
Unlike the likes of the iPhone and iPad, which are refreshed on a yearly basis, Apple tends to take a little more time when it comes to the AirPods range. While there aren’t any previous models of AirPods Max, we can estimate when to expect the second-gen AirPods Max based on the release cycle of the standard AirPods.
The first-gen AirPods were released in December 2016, and were followed up by the second-gen AirPods in March 2019, boasting improved smarts and wireless charging. Rumours suggest we could be seeing the third-gen AirPods later this year, pointing towards a rough two-and-a-half-year refresh cycle for the standard AirPods.
If we apply that logic to the AirPods Max, it’s unlikely we’ll see the AirPods Max 2 any time before March 2023, and that’s if Apple decides to continue making the cans – they are much more expensive than the competition, after all, and we’re yet to hear just how popular the first-gen headphones are.
How much will the AirPods Max 2 cost?
There aren’t any solid rumours about how much the AirPods Max 2 could cost – we are still potentially years from release, after all – but given Apple’s desire to keep updated products in line with the pricing of its predecessor where possible, it’s likely that the AirPods Max 2 will cost close to the £549/$549 of the first-gen headphones.
What we want to see from the AirPods Max 2
While it’s far too early to hear anything about the AirPods Max 2, we’ve been using the first-gen AirPods Max for quite some time and there are a few improvements we’d love to see from their successor.
The biggest change we’d like to see, and we’re sure we’re not alone in thinking this, is a completely redesigned smart case. The current smart case, aside from being compared to a handbag and a bra in memes, isn’t fit for the purpose of protecting the high-end headphones, instead protecting only the stainless steel cans and not the fabric headband that is arguably more prone to damage over time.
It’s made more frustrating by the fact you have to use the smart case to store the AirPods Max.
If Apple doesn’t want to change the design of the AirPods Max smart case, a simple alternative could be to include a power button – that way, you can simply turn the cans off and keep them around your neck or in a bag without wasting valuable battery power as you do right now.
When you’re spending big bucks on a pair of high-end wireless headphones, you expect certain things in the box: a carry case, a charger and a 3.5mm cable to use the cans with wired devices – especially with such a premium audio performance on offer. However, unlike most of the competition (which, by the way, cost around £200/$200 less than Apple’s cans) Apple doesn’t include the 3.5mm cable in the box, instead selling it separately for £35/$35.
We’d argue that the initial price tag is more than enough to cover the cost of a 3.5mm cable, and it’s something we expect to see in the box the next time around.
While on the topic of cables, the AirPods Max 2 is in need of a shift from Lightning to USB-C. Personally, this writer only uses the Lightning cable to charge the AirPods Max, using a combination of MagSafe and USB-C for the rest of the Apple products used on a daily basis. Moving the AirPods Max 2 to USB-C could allow some Apple fans to completely retire the Lightning cable, allowing for better cable management and easier charging.
Speaking of easier charging, we’d also love to see the introduction of either MagSafe or standard Qi-enabled wireless charging on the second-gen AirPods Max. The ease of use on offer from wireless chargers, and MagSafe in particular, results in a less than premium charging experience AirPods Max when compared to the rest of the Qi-enabled AirPods range.
Even a dock for the AirPods Max to sit on when charging would be an improvement over the current solution.