AirPods Max

AirPods Max are premium over-ear headphones. They were announced in December 2020 and represent Apple’s entry into the high-end headphone market.

They are designed to deliver high-fidelity audio with a custom-built driver that provides deep bass, accurate mid-range frequencies, and crisp highs. They utilize computational audio technology to optimize sound quality in real-time.

AirPods Max come equipped with active noise cancellation, but also feature a Transparency Mode that allows users to hear their surroundings while still listening to audio.

The headphones feature a sleek and premium design with stainless steel headband frame and telescoping arms, coupled with a breathable knit mesh canopy for comfort. They feature a Digital Crown inspired by the one found on the Apple Watch, which allows users to adjust volume, control playback, answer calls, and activate Siri.

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on AirPods Max:

First Sonos headphones blast away at AirPods Max

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Sonos Ace headphones in soft white
Sonos' first headphones look like quite an appealing alternative to AirPods Max -- for $100 less out of the gate.
Photo: Sonos

Popular speaker brand Sonos finally unveiled its “most-requested” product ever Tuesday — Sonos Ace over-ear headphones. They appear to go straight at Apple’s aging AirPods Max as a competitor. The new cans sport top features and a $100 lower list price ($449) than Apple’s premium headphones.

Sonos touts the new headphones’ “breathtaking lossless and spatial audio, world-class Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Aware Mode, as well as the most precise and immersive home theater experience possible using Sonos’ new TrueCinema technology.”

You can preorder Sonos Ace now and they become available June 5.

How to get latest AirPods Max firmware update

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AirPods firmware update How-To
Here's how to check for the new AirPods firmware update.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

First off: There’s no direct way to update AirPods firmware. When Apple updates AirPods software — as it just did for AirPods Max — the update happens automatically, in the background.

However, there is a way to speed up the update process. Plus, it’s a good idea to manually check you’re running the latest version, which brings bug fixes and sometimes great new features.

As noted, Apple most recently released fresh firmware for AirPods Max, taking the over-the-ears headphones to 6A325. (You can find other current AirPods firmware versions below.)

Here’s how to check if your AirPods are running the latest firmware on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Plus what to do if they aren’t, and how to force AirPods firmware to update.

EarFun’s first over-ear headphones claim hi-res sound, 80-hour playback

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EarFun Wave Pro headphones on laptop user
Paying $80 for hi-res over-ear ANC headphones with 80-hour battery life seems like a steal. But for a short time you can pay just $56.
Photo: EarFun

Known for high-quality earbuds that don’t break the bank, EarFun released a set of over-ear cans Monday for the first time — Earfun Wave Pro Hi-Res ANC Wireless Headphones.

Introduced at CES 2024, the new noise-canceling EarFun Wave Pro cans claim high-resolution audio, hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) and a stalwart 80 hours of playback. And all that comes at a cost of just $80. Actually, even less for early-bird buyers.

Get ready for ‘the biggest AirPods launch to date’

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Apple needs to take the frustration out of AirPods firmware updates
With ANC, AirPods 4 might be a significant jump up from its predecessor.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple suppliers are reportedly preparing for “the biggest AirPods launch to date.” The company is supposedly planning to produce between 20 million and 25 million units of AirPods 4, a significant jump from previous models.

Apple could launch the AirPods 4 in two flavors later this year: one with ANC and another without. Alongside updated internals, the new earbuds purportedly will sport a sleeker new design.

Slick new Yamaha speakers blast rapper’s soundtrack [Setups]

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MacBook Pro setup with new Yamaha speakers
This setup replaced big ol' Yamaha speakers with smaller new ones the user said sound just as good.
Photo: jonyoungmusic@Reddit.com

For those who get by with audio from a laptop or display speakers in their computer setup — as good as that can be these days — an upgrade to desktop speakers offer a real treat for the ears. Today’s MacBook Pro setup from a Florida-based rapper just got a nice set of brand new Yamaha speakers and jacked them in to a huge subwoofer under the desk. 

Get up to $100 off AirPods Max while you can

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AirPods Max on charging stand
Getting $100 off the top-shelf cans is a good deal, even with an updated version on the way.
Photo: Floating Pixels

In what appears to be the first big discount on Apple’s $549 over-ear, noise-canceling headphones in 2024, you can currently get up to $100 off AirPods Max at Amazon and Best Buy ($449.99).

The last time folks had a shot at a deal like this was Black Friday 2023. It’s not clear how long the deals might last. And other AirPods models are also on sale.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

MacBook Pro rig rocks Sonos sound system [Setups]

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Sonos One SL speakers in MacBook Pro setup
The Sonos sound system consist of Sonos One SL speakers on the desk and a Sonos Beam soundbar behind the user's seat (not shown).
Photo: MentalOriental@Reddit.com

Sonos audio products are popular for a reason — they sound great and they’re not too far from affordable. Today’s MacBook Pro and Studio Display user thinks the monitor’s built-in speakers are good for many uses, but when they really want the big sound — for gaming, it turns out — they’re all about their Sonos One SL speakers and Sonos Beam soundbar.

How gamer avoids neck pain looking up at stacked Studio Displays [Setups]

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Mac Studio setup with dual Studio Displays
You don't see two Studio Displays stacked on a desk shelf every day. But the user says neck pain isn't an issue.
Photo: sound214@Reddit.com

With all the computer setups out there with two, three and even five displays, sometimes you’ll see them stacked. But a dual-Studio Display setup that stacks one on top of the other is a rarity.

Today’s Mac Studio user, who is also an avid PlayStation 5 and Ninendo Switch gamer, said the stacked displays work well and don’t cause any neck pain from looking up all the time.

Good monitor arms ‘go a long way’ [Setups]

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Mac Studio setup with three mounted displays
This user swears by the arms his 4 displays are mounted on.
Photo: TheJTizzle@Reddit.com

Sure, you can buy a computer monitor and set it up on the stand that came in the box. But what if you want to easily move the external display around? And what if you want to have multiple screens and move them around?

Keeping monitors up off the desk and mobile can really improve your setup. And the best way to do that is to mount your screens on arms. It takes some effort, but as today’s user points out below, it’s worth it.

Take your pick of hefty discounts on AirPods models

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AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro 2 are seeing a solid discount right now on Amazon.
Photo: Apple

Amazon is offering discounts on all Apple AirPods models right now, including some hefty ones. Depending on the right model for you, you might save as much as 24% off the regular price, or about $60.

Even AirPods Max over-ear headphones are priced down a bit, with prices ranging from $495 to $535 depending upon which color you choose (under the regular $549 price).

Can removing a 4K external display count as an upgrade? [Setups]

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MacBook Pro setup with LG UltraFine monitor on stand
Once again, a monitor riser (and other updates) elevates a computer setup.
Photo: jonyoungmusic@Reddit.com

Multiple-display computer setups are all the rage, but can a workstation benefit from losing one of its external monitors, even one with 4K resolution?

If today’s featured MacBook Pro rig is any indication, yes, it can — especially if the outfit sees a bunch of other cool upgrades at the same time, like a cool new monitor riser, an open stand for the MacBook Pro and a great new office chair.

What to expect from AirPods and AirPods Max in 2024

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AirPods in 2024
Expect to see two versions of AirPods 4 -- including one with noise canceling -- in 2024.
Photo: Cult of Mac

In an effort to boost sales and clarify offerings, Apple will revamp its AirPods lineup in 2024, reports have indicated — but that won’t include updates for every product.

AirPods 4 should arrive next year, with two versions replacing current lower-priced earbuds models. And AirPods Max will receive some long-awaited updates, although the pricey over-ear headphones won’t get a major revamp. And as for what comes after AirPods Pro 2, we’ll have to wait until early 2025, most likely.

Multiple Macs drive phalanx of Dell displays [Setups]

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Mac Studio setup with 3 external displays
Windows on water everywhere in this triple-screened Mac Studio and MacBook Pro setup.
Photo: kribyl@Reddit.com

After a recent debate over whether dual external displays should be lined up straight across or angled for better ergonomics, a Mac Studio and dual-MacBook setup addresses the question in a different way. It uses three identical displays in landscape mode, placing the center one one straight and one on either side of it at an angle.

And the setup also offers connecitivity tips, running the two MacBooks into two of the displays via a CalDigit dock while the Mac Studio drives one directly.

If you have dual displays, try this neat wallpaper trick [Setups]

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Dual-Studio Display MacBook Pro setup
This flat side-by-side look brought up debate, plus the question of getting wallpaper to work that way across two screens.
Photo: Z4YN389@Reddit.com

Few people would dispute that the extra screen real estate of a second display can be a huge help in a computer setup. But let’s say you have two Studio Displays in landcape (horizontal) mode. Do you place them side by side perfectly straight or do you angle them in some way?

Today’s MacBook Pro workstation brought up the debate and surfaced a cool tip for getting wallpaper to appear half on one display and half on the other.

Studio Display stars in designer’s Lego-rich home office [Setups]

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Setups Jose Munoz desk with MacBook Pro and Studio Display
Munoz loves his Studio Display the most, but he also praises his 14-inch M1 MacBook Pro and other gear.
Photo: Jose Munoz

If Apple’s popular but pricey Studio Display is well-suited to anyone, it’s any type of designer because of the monitor’s formidable graphics chops.

In today’s loaded MacBook Pro setup, a designer sets apart his Studio Display for the highest praise among many items in a remarkably well-equipped workstation. And his Lego collection is epic, too.

Apple readies AirPods 4 with noise cancellation, plans AirPods Max update

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AirPods 4 are coming in 2024
Expect to see two versions of AirPods 4 -- including one with noise canceling -- in 2024.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will revamp its AirPods lineup in 2024 in an effort to boost sales and clarify offerings, a new report indicates.

AirPods 4 should arrive next year, with two versions replacing current lower-priced earbuds models. And AirPods Max will receive some long-awaited updates, although the pricey over-ear headphones won’t get a major revamp.

Today in Apple history: AirPods arrive to conquer the audio world

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Today in Apple history: They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
They looked weird at first, but now it's impossible to remember a world without AirPods.
Photo: Dagny Reese/Unsplash License

December 13: Today in Apple history: Original AirPods launch December 13, 2016: After months of anticipation and delay, Apple finally releases AirPods. The tiny wireless earbuds arrive in Apple’s online store just in time for holiday shoppers looking for stocking stuffers.

Like so many Apple products, they aren’t the first such earbuds to arrive on the scene. However, AirPods’ rapid success will fuel a wireless listening revolution.

You won’t see a vertical display more nuts than this one [Setups]

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Mac Pro setup with 55-inch curved Samsung display in portrait mode
Can you imagine working on that screen?
Photo: Born4One@Reddit.com

Curved ultra-wide gaming displays have been making their way into Mac setups for quite some time now. But some people want to experiment, maybe push the envelope a bit, so they mount them on top of other displays or sometimes in portrait mode (vertical). But today’s Mac Pro setup takes the cake in that regard.

The user nixed a Studio Display with a high-quality external webam in favor of a truly massive, 55-inch curved ultra-wide Samsung gaming display — mounted vertically. It towers over everything with a pronounced stoop.

Software engineer defends Apple’s pricey Studio Display [Setups]

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Computer setup with M2 Pro MacBook Pro and Studio Display
Software engineer says his Studio Display's 60Hz refresh rate doesn't bother him (much).
Photo: OK_Cobbler_806@Reddit.com

A software engineer drives a Studio Display with an M2 Pro MacBook Pro in their enviable computer setup. And while some folks questioned the use of Apple’s pricey 5K display because of its relatively low refresh rate, the setup’s user praised the monitor highly.

Check out the advice the engineer got about setup improvements and see all their gear in the list below.

AirPods gift guide: Choose the best models and accessories

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AirPods Buying Guide: Choosing the best models and accessories
Gifting AirPods for the holidays? Here's all you need to know.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

A gift that always goes down well with Apple fans, no matter the time of year, is a brand-new pair of AirPods. But it’s important to ensure you pick the right pair out of the four on offer if you really want to impress.

In our AirPods buying guide, we’ll help you choose between AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max — and highlight some of the best cases and charging accessories to go with them.

Separating work and personal life with 2 MacBooks and 3 displays [Setups]

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That desktop wallpaper is distracting, to say the least.
That desktop wallpaper is distracting, to say the least.
Photo: ImCoolInMyHead@Reddit.com

A problem users face with home computer setups is how to separate work from personal use. Today’s setup brings work and personal laptops to the mix — both M1 Max MacBook Pros, coincidentally — along with three displays, including a massive OLED smart TV.

And as is often the case on social media, solid advice sounded loud and clear above the noise.

Two powerhouse MacBooks drive dual Studio Displays [Setups]

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Not everyone can say they have two late model MacBooks Pro and two Studio Displays, but the employer helped out in this case.
Not everyone can say they have two late model MacBooks Pro and two Studio Displays, but the employer helped out in this case.
Photo: Leorivero@Reddit.com

Not many folks get to flaunt two late-model, powerhouse MacBook Pro laptops along with two Studio Displays in their computer setup — but it certainly becomes more likely when an employer contributes gear. Today’s featured setup comes from an art director in just that situation.

His Apple-all-the-way setup won much praise, but some commenters on social media had fits over a backward-facing MacBook Pro — and provided a fix for the flagrant flub.

Get ready to play Wonderlust event bingo

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Basic Apple Guy's richly designed Wonderlust Apple Event Bingo card covers most likely announcements.
Basic Apple Guy's richly designed Wonderlust Apple Event Bingo card covers most likely announcements.
Photo: Basic Apple Guy

Wonderlust 2023If Apple’s holding a major event, then it’s a good bet someone’s preparing bingo cards for it. Ahead of Tuesday’s Wonderlust event, we found a few options for you to play along while Cupertino’s rumored announcements unfold.

All AirPods might get USB-C charging in 2024

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Apple AirPods 3 Review
An AirPods 3 charging case with USB-C might be on Apple's radar.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple could release charging cases that use USB-C for lower-priced AirPods in 2024, according to an unconfirmed report. A similar case for premium AirPods Pro 2 is expected at Apple’s September event next week.

And Apple might bring USB-C to AirPods Max next year, too, as part of a general move away from Lightning.

Outstanding Beats Studio Pro headphones get $100 discount

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The new Beats Studio Pro improve greatly upon Beats Studio3, released in 2017.
The new Beats Studio Pro improve greatly upon Beats Studio3, released in 2017.
Photo: Apple

Apple subsidiary Beats unveiled its top-shelf Beats Studio Pro headphones in July, and now the cans get their first discount — and it’s a doozy.

You can take $100 off the noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones at Amazon right now.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.