Want to know what is under the bonnet? Why these cost an arm and a leg? Have a look at the Apple AirPods Max teardown by iFixit.
One has to wonder how Apple can charge A$899 for its first attempt at Bluetooth, ANC headphones – with a Lightning connector no less. Well, Apple is Apple. How do they compare with the category leaders Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose NC700?
Let the Apple AirPods Max teardown by iFixit begin
Naturally, specifications reduce anything to the basics and the reality is that how it sounds and works with Apple iPhone/iPad/Mac/WatchTV is really what this is about.
2 x 40mm drivers
2 x Apple H1 chips, Amps Sensors – position, accelerometer and one gyroscope
Nine microphones (three for voice and shared with ANC)
BT 5.0 and AAC codec
Lightning to USB-C charge cable (no charger)
Digital crown control (like Watch)
20-hour battery (2 batteries in parallel, total capacity 3.8V/660mAh cells in the right earcup)
Soft-touch’ carrier’ case
If you want to use a cable, you must purchase 3.5mm to Lighting adapter.
Each ear cup has a microphone inside the grille to analyses what you are listening to
There are many electronics in the pod – ARM processor, H1 chip, flash memory, Audio Codec, Amplifier and battery circuit.
The DAC (in each cup) is a Cirrus Logic CS43L22) which on its website states in red ‘Not recommended for new designs’. Depending on the speaker voltage, it can provide 1W into 4Ω at 10% THD+N.
What a delightfully perplexing pair of headphones.
Despite the slightly confusing and over-complicated (read: sticky) opening process, these things are fairly serviceable. Not fun to service, but serviceable. It gets 6/10.
As always, we have a love/hate relationship with Apple’s use of screws: love the use of screws, but hate the screws they choose.
The teardown also looks at the Sony and Bose equivalents. But this is not ‘Apples-for-Apples’ as these support a wider range of Codecs and pretty well every BT host device on the planet.
The full Apple AirPods Max teardown by iFixit is here.