WaterField makes the AirPods Max case Apple should have | Cult of Mac

WaterField makes the AirPods Max case Apple should have


WaterField Designs' new AirPods Max Shield Case ticks a lot of boxes Apple left empty.
The new AirPods Max Shield Case ticks a lot of boxes Apple left empty.
Photo: WaterField Designs

There are a lot of things to love about Apple’s new AirPods Max headphones, but the Smart Case isn’t one of them. Roundly panned after the high-end cans’ release, it’s just plain weird-looking. Plus, it’s not that protective or functional.

Luckily, WaterField Designs delivered what Apple didn’t. The San Francisco-based maker of luxury bags for all your tech gear just unveiled its Apple AirPods Max Shield Case — and it’s designed with input from Apple fans to make it actually, you know, smart (not to mention attractive).

“When Apple introduced the AirPods Max, our community clamored for a new case,” said WaterField Designs owner Gary Waterfield in a press release. “So, we surveyed over 1,200 Apple enthusiasts to understand their needs and then incorporated their feedback into our design. They requested a case that is compact, protective, professional-looking, and capable of carrying a few accessories.”

WaterField Designs AirPods Max Shield Case

The company’s just-announced AirPods Max Shield Case comes in black ballistic nylon with full-grain leather sides in black, blue or crimson. Or you can opt for the company’s signature beefy, tan waxed canvas with distressed chocolate leather.

Just by looking at it, you can tell that it’s obviously much more protective than the Smart Case, which leaves the AirPods Max’s mesh headband exposed to serve as a carrying handle. Plus, the WaterField Designs AirPods Max case incorporates magnets like Apple uses to switch the headphones into their battery-saving low-power state.

“A Magnetic Leather Butterfly acts as a buffer between the ear cups and triggers the AirPods Max into low-power mode,” says the PR. “When used in conjunction with the Apple Smart Case, the magnets lie flat. Space-efficient pockets stow cords and accessories, and a luxuriously soft interior cradles the AirPods Max…. Rugged materials, shock-absorbing foam, and waterproof zippers help protect the prized headphones.”

Here are the details on the AirPods Max Shield Case’s thoughtful storage capabilities, straight from WaterField:

  • Stretch mesh pocket with a leather closure utilizes negative interior space to fit a 5W to 20W Apple Power Adapter and charging and headphone cords.
  • Plush-lined exterior zippered pocket keeps extra cords, AirPods Pro, or other small electronic accessories readily accessible.
  • Open-topped, stretch mesh, rear pocket stows an iPhone, and/or additional accessories.

Works with or without Apple Smart Case

WaterField Designs' AirPods Max Shield Case works with or without Apple's Smart Case
The AirPods Max Shield Case gives you plenty of storage options.
Photo: WaterField Designs

And, yes, you read that right. The AirPods Max Shield Case works with or without the Apple Smart Case (which Apple designers defended after the brouhaha).

It turns out that not everybody hates the Smart Case. But really, almost everyone thinks the $549 headphones deserve a more protective and functional case.

Waterfield said his company’s survey found people “were evenly divided regarding the Apple Smart Case; one camp wanted a case that encompasses the Apple Smart Case while the other wanted a case that replaces it altogether and puts the headphones into low-power mode. It was an exciting challenge to create a case that satisfies both camps and that addresses their other wishes as well.”

AirPods Max Shield Case availability and pricing

AirPods Max Shield Case The case comes in multiple colors, but the waxed canvas really is nice.
The case comes in multiple colors. The waxed canvas really looks nice.
Photo: WaterField Designs

The AirPods Max Shield Case goes for $99. It is available in black ballistic nylon with premium, full-grain leather in black, blue or crimson. Or you can get it in tan waxed canvas with distressed, full-grain, chocolate leather. It measures 9.5 inches x 9 inches (at widest points) x 2.25 inches. The ballistic nylon model weighs 11 ounces, while the waxed canvas beefs up to 14.5 ounces.

It is available for preorder now. WaterField Designs says the first production run will ship on December 31, 2020.

Buy from: WaterField Designs


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.