Apple Releases AirPods Max Noise Canceling Headphones – Bose and Sony Can Relax

Written by Charlie

The new Apple AirPods Max have just been announced and they really look like a winner. Here is why I think Bose and Sony are both relieved with this latest Apple product.

The long-rumored Apple-branded noise canceling headphones have arrived in the form of the Apple AirPods Max. They take everything Apple has learned with the AirPods earbuds and turn out a high-quality pair of headphones with noise canceling technology – and a whole lot more. So, why can Bose and Sony relax?

The New Apple AirPods Max Noise Canceling Headphones

Link: New Apple AirPods Max

Sony and Bose have been synonymous for noise canceling headphones that are popular with travelers. With super battery life (more than 25 or 30 hours), excellent noise cancellation technology and various features that add to the mix, these have been great for anyone that wants to listen to media and tune out the world around them.

Last year, Apple jumped into the noise cancellation world with their AirPods Pro. They have become extremely popular in spite of the high $249 price tag (but with frequent sales that drop as low as $169) and this year they got even better with spatial audio technology. This is a cool feature that lets you become more immersed in the movie you are watching on your Apple device.

While Apple has the Beats brand and they have noise canceling headphones, it wasn’t until yesterday that Apple had their own noise canceling headphone under their brand – and they are certainly quite a work of art.

Apple AirPods Max Features

These new headphones come in 5 different colors and each ear cup has the Apple H1 chip. This helps these headphones to have some serious computational power to help deliver better sound performance than your average headphone.

Apple also brought over the digital crown from their Apple Watch to let you simply rotate that to change the volume, audio track, and more. To be honest, I actually really like this idea for the digital crown as it is something I think I would appreciate more than the touchpad on the Sony or the buttons on the Bose.

Apple promises high-fidelity audio, exceptional fit, and industry leading noise canceling technology all in a very retro, refined set of cans.

There is a lot to like for Apple fans – all but the price. These come in at an eye-watering price of $549, or almost double what the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones currently are priced at on sale! Even the Bose 700 are on sale for “just” $339!

What Does This Have to Do With Sony and Bose?

Both manufacturers knew that Apple was going to drop a new headphone on the stage and to roll out their signature language that makes it sound like this is the first time a pair of noise canceling headphones has appeared on the internet. But, what would the response be like and would it draw customers away from Bose and Sony like the original AirPods pulled millions away from normal earbuds?

The Bose QuietComfort 700 are still great and currently just $339

I think both Sony and Bose breathed a sigh of relief for two reasons and both concern the price. The tag of $549 means that there top-tier headphones that are priced regularly at $349 and $399 respectively are now much “cheaper” than Apple. It means that they are not really in competition agains the new Apple AirPods Max since the price range is so far removed from the typical Sony/Bose range. I mean, people were complaining when Bose priced their new Bose 700 at $399 instead of the industry-norm of $349!

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are only 4 months old and already on sale for $278 -great deal!

The other area of price that can make both manufacturers relax is that the new Apple AirPods Max are currently so far sold out that it will be 12-14 weeks before you would get a pair from Apple! This means that the demand for these Apple cans is huge (unless Apple purposely only rolled out a small first batch to try and cause a rush in demand numbers) and that there are a lot of iPhone-owning people that were only too happy to part with $549+ tax to put these on their head. Remember – they only offer 20 hours of battery life or 1/3 the battery life of the much lower priced Sony WH-1000XM4!

The price has not deterred people from pushing the delivery date out to over 12 weeks now!

This rush means that there is definitely a demand and desire in this higher price range for noise canceling headphones. True, there have always been some in the stratosphere pricing area but those were for total audiophiles. Apple stuff does sound good but it is not in that category, normally. So, this new product and the subsequent pricing and demand mean that there is room for both Sony and Bose to go higher in their next release of headphones. Bad news for customers – unless they bring some magic to the next headphones.

Bottom Line

The new Apple AirPods Max are certainly a melding of everything Apple knows about marketing, audio, and that touch of software magic in one package. They should be incredible and sound quite good.

But, Bose and Sony still offer very compelling headphones at much lower prices – and millions of customers were satisfied with them before yesterday and likely will continue to be.

Did you buy the new Apple AirPods Max?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I still have the Sony MX3, and still love them after a year of having them! I do feel that the Apple ones after maybe another year or 2 they will probably be right up there as well. If they are going for a different niche (as Apple usually does), it wouldn’t surprise me if these are a stepping stone for a professional series to come (studio, music industry)

  • I used Bose QC 35s for years and last year “upgraded” to the Sony MX3s now that my Bose are thoroughly worn out. I also recently picked up Air Pod Pros now that the price has dropped. The Sonys are slightly better than my old Bose in terms of noise cancelling and sound quality, but I really don’t like them as much. I find the controls to not be intuitive and find pairing multiple different devices to be a pain. This is what Apple excels at. I love the Air Pod Pros for their sound and convenance, but dislike the battery life and find them uncomfortable for long periods of time. For now, I pretty much only use the MX3s on planes and use Air Pod Pros for almost all of my other headphone use. I have considered picking up a pair of QC35IIs while they are still available because I know I would like them better than the MX3s, and I believe I would like them better than the Bose 700s because of the controls and portability.

    As far as the Air Pods Max go, the price is ridiculous. I don’t think they are the best for travel because they are heavy and lack portability both because they don’t fold and the case is worthless. Maybe in a year or two, the price will come down and better cases will be made and at that point, I will likely buy the Air Pods Max.