AirPods Max teardown finds mystery chips, screwy screws and impressive engineering

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iFixit AirPods Max teardown finds much to like
An AirPods Max Teardown wouldn’t be complete without an X-ray of Apple’s new over-the-ears headphones.
Photo: iFixit

iFixit took a deep dive into AirPods Max, fully disassembling Apple’s over-the-ear headphones. What they found in the teardown was a startling number of different types of screws. But also a craftsmanship that helps justify the hefty price tag.

Is this the future of Macs? [Cult of Mac Magazine 383]

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This augmented-reality Mac concept goes full Minority Report.
This augmented-reality Mac concept goes full Minority Report.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

An augmented reality Mac powered by Apple glasses offers a glimpse of what computing might look like in the future.

Yes, it’s just a concept. But man, is it gorgeously detailed. We talked with concept designer Dominik Hofacker about his fascinating concept, and you can read all about it in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it now to read on your iOS device, or get the links below.

We’ve also got the latest news and rumors on the the long-rumored Apple Car and AirTags (not to mention those Apple AR glasses that Hofacker is talking about). Plus, we’ve got how-tos and reviews (including a second take on AirPods Max and a look at the second anachronistic season of Dickinson on Apple TV+).

4 useful things you can do with the Digital Crown on AirPods Max

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How to use the Digital Crown on AirPods Max
That little button does a lot more than you might think.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

AirPods Max are only the second Apple device to adopt Apple Watch’s brilliant Digital Crown. And you might be surprised by just how powerful that little button can be, from adjusting volume to controlling playback.

Here are four useful things you can do with the Digital Crown on AirPods Max.

5 ways AirPods Max let me down

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AirPods Max playing music on Spotify
AirPods Max are great for lots of genres of music, or for watching video content, but...
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I love the idea of good-sounding, comfortable, high-quality headphones. And Apple’s new AirPods Max definitely check those boxes.

They offer great sound and they’re super-comfortable to wear, even for longer periods of time. On top of that, they pack all the things that make AirPods magical in a very premium package.

But even with those awesome features, AirPods Max aren’t for everyone, and that includes me. As much as I’ve loved my AirPods and AirPods Pro, these kind of let me down.

Despite pandemic, 2020 was Apple’s best year ever [Year in Review]

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Apple products on a table
The big story for Apple in 2020, was, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Elena Mozhvilo/Unsplash

In spite of a devastating pandemic, a moribund economy, widespread unemployment, factory and store closures, and a workforce toiling from home, Apple in 2020 had one of its best years ever.

The company released a raft of new products, saw its stock soar, enjoyed a record valuation, made record amounts of money, experimented with virtual product launches and events, released great advertising, and mostly skated through government antitrust hearings.

The company even killed off a hated product feature, to widespread plaudits from fans.

Max Stand adds wireless charging to AirPods Max

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AirPods Max and Max Stand go great together.
Max Stand seems like something Apple should have thought of itself.
Photo: Floating Pixels

A small German design studio dreamed up an improvement to AirPods Max. The Max Stand from Floating Pixels holds Apple’s new over-the-ears headphones upright, making them easy to pick up and use. And it adds wireless charging, rather than requiring users to plug in a cable.

AirPods Max condensation makes some owners sweat

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AirPods Max users complain of condensation inside headphones: Water collected inside one user’s AirPods Max ear cups after really extended wearing.
Water collected inside these AirPods Max ear cups after extended use.
Photo: Donald Filimon

Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are drawing complaints from some users after drops of water formed inside the earpads after extended use. Condensation is not an uncommon problem with over-the-ear headphones, though the metal ear cups and tight fit of the Apple version might increase the amount.

The 10 best Apple ads of 2020

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Damien Chazelle
Apple produced some spectacular ads this year.
Photo: Apple

Apple makes great phones, tablets, computers and smartwatches. It also makes superb commercials — and has done so for years.

What was the cream of this year’s Apple advertising crop? Check out our top 10 picks (in no particular order) below.

WaterField makes the AirPods Max case Apple should have

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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).