Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Why are AirPods Max are so expensive? iFixit teardown may provide the answer

When Apple launched the AirPods Max at the back-end of last year for a whopping £549, eyebrows were certainly raised. Surely they’d be DOA given the number of high quality rivals available for around £200 less?

However, a new teardown from the destructive folks at iFixit might go a little way towards explaining where Apple lovers’ extra cash goes.

After cracking open the over-hear headphones, iFixit came away hugely impressed with the quality of the engineering, claiming it was “more understanding” of the high price as a result. Tellingly, the screwdriver-happy technicians said the craftsmanship makes the competition “look like toys.”

In its report, iFixit wrote: “And after tearing down some of the competition, we’re more understanding of that $550 price tag. Sony and Bose both charge less, but internally, the AirPods Max’s obsessive craftsmanship makes those other extremely capable devices look like toys by comparison.”

The site goes on to say: “With all their intricate, precision-engineered parts, AirPods Max remind us more of a mechanical watch than of any pair of headphones.”

Apple’s take on over-ear headphones is certainly one of the more refreshing we’ve seen in recent times. For a start, there’s a stainless steel frame, with a flexible headband made from breathable net mesh. There’s also the anodised aluminium cups, compared to the usual plastic we see from headphone makers. There have been a few isolate complaints that the cups cause condensation intake the body, but none causing any issue with the audio. The AirPods Max also bring the H1 chip, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode and Spatial Audio.

Interestingly, iFixit also pointed out that the headphones are more repairable than expected. Affording the AirPods Max 6/10 for repairability, the site wrote says “we’re excited to award the first-ever non-zero repair score to an AirPods device…”

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.