Apple is expanding its popular AirPods lineup with a pair of very expensive headphones.
The company announced Tuesday over-the-ear headphones called the AirPods Max. They cost $549. By comparison, the iPhone SE starts at $399 and the newly launched iPhone 12 is $699. Meanwhile, its basic AirPods cost $199.
It’s also more expensive than other similar offerings: Bose’s Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 cost $339 and Beats Studio 3 cost $349.
The wireless headset comes with noise cancellation and built-in Siri capabilities. They also come with the popular Transparency mode from Apple’s in-ear counterpart, AirPods Pro, which allows you to hear some of the world around you.
Apple promises about 20 hours of battery life before a recharge. When placed inside the included slim “smart case,” they enter a low-power mode intended to preserve that battery. The headset can switch between Apple devices, such as iPhone to iPad to Mac.
The AirPods Max, which launch on December 15, will come in space gray, silver, blue, green and pink.
Apple’s AirPods product line has proven to be a big success for Apple but the move raises questions about what this means for Beats, the high-end headphones brand it acquired in 2014 for $3 billion.
It’s an unlikely time of year for Apple to launch new products – most of its announcements come far ahead of the holiday shopping season. But the rumor mill started to circulate last week when Apple reportedly sent out a memo to service providers about an upcoming change to Apple Care.
The company also announced its Fitness+ workout experience built around Apple Watch will debut December 14. The subscription service, which is $9.99 monthly for $79.99 for the year, includes yoga, dance, core, high-intensity interval training and other fitness activities.