Apple announced the AirPods Max out of the blue yesterday evening after months of the headphones leaking on social media. This product is a cacophony of divisiveness: the ridiculous name, the design, the carrying case and most importantly, the price.
So what are the AirPods Max? Well these are Apple’s high end foray into the active noise cancellation headphone market. This market is dominated by Bose and Sony who have the Bose 700 and the XM4 as their current flagships. The Bose 700 and the XM4s usually retail for $350 and that is why the $550 asking price for the AirPods Max drew a lot of debate on social media.
I’ve been racking my brain as to why Apple would do this. They could have easily focused on delivering a competitive $350 product to compete with Bose and Sony. Knowing Apple fans, they would have picked it over the competitors easily.
Apple is reminding us they are a luxury brand
I believe the reason Apple decided to release the AirPods Max is for them to cement their luxury status. We have been so accustomed to Apple releasing ‘reasonably priced’ products for a while now. However, Apple products are infamously known to be expensive and that image has to be maintained.
There are a number of times that Apple has reminded us that they are a luxury brand. They released $700 Mac Pro wheels, they had the $17,000 18k gold Apple Watch Edition and the current Mac Pro can be configured to cost over $53,000!
The AirPods Max is Apple reminding us again that they are a luxury brand and it screams luxury. The design is made of metal and plush woven fabric. The carrying case looks so bizarre (like a bra or something) but it seems like it was designed to look like a high end bag. The pricing is intentional to be higher than the Bose and the Sony to be singled out as a luxury item.
The price hasn’t deterred people
The AirPods Max are expensive, no doubt but that the demand is crazy high. When you go to apple.com to purchase, the current timeframe as of writing this article is 12-14 weeks to get your purchase (in the US) which shows the crazy demand for them.
On Twitter, people really bashed the pricing but it seems like the general populace doesn’t care about the pricing either. The combination of it being positioned as a luxury item plus the fact that it pairs seamlessly with Apple devices and the AirPods branding was eventually going to make it a best seller.
This is the first generation and I’m actually waiting to see what Apple will release as the successor to this.