Late last year Apple took the wraps off its long-expected AirPods Max over-ear headphones, we were intrigued but, mostly, we were blown away by the price. At R11,500 for a pair, we said that the Max cans had “…better be bloody amazing.”
We haven’t had a chance to listen to anything using them, because they haven’t shipped in SA just yet, but iFixit has already laid hands on them. And then, predictably, used those hands to take the headphones apart. What they found, as all the worst headlines tell you, might surprise you.
Making the AirPods Max
Apple’s AirPods, typically, don’t get a high repairability rating from the teardown experts. In fact, the Max is the first product in the lineup to manage better than a big fat zero. The AirPods Max have scored a six out of ten, which means you might be able to repair a few things. Maybe. But it’ll still be a bloody mission.
There’s less glue and solder inside the cans than you might expect, but anyone wishing to strip them down to components had better have a very extensive collection of screwdriver bits on hand. Apple used as many different types as it could, for reasons only Apple could possibly understand.
But there are some other neat touches to look forward to. The ear cushions are fitted using magnets, making swapping out worn padding a breeze — though we’re interested to see what replacements might cost. There is also some praise for Apple’s engineering, in there. The headband’s hinge mechanism is “…both intricate and overbuilt, and might make the AirPods Max’s price tag a little easier to swallow.” That’s good to know — we weren’t about to strip these cans down to the wiring for the review. We’ve got to give them back afterwards.
The headbands may also be swappable, meaning Apple might offer different options. They detach from the ear-cups using little more than a SIM tool or, at worst, a paperclip. Do we expect to see AirPods Max accessory headbands in the near future? After this, yes, we do.