Apple announced the AirPods Max last week and they will henceforth be known as the headphones that launched a thousand takes.
Ever alert to when an Apple product is not priced correctly, pundits called them “ludicrously overpriced” with a case that looks like a brassiere (tip o’ the antlers to @designheretic). The price has further inspired CNN Business to look at “The real cost of being the ultimate Apple fan” (tip o' the antlers to Rick) which they say is $80,000 because if you don’t buy the top of each product line Apple ships then you’re not “the ultimate Apple fan”.
Frankly, the Macalope thinks they left something on the table by not insisting the iPhone be the $6,000 Caviar “iPhone 12 Pro Jobs 4” which (somehow) contains a piece of Steve Jobs’ clothing. Are you an “ultimate” fan or not?! Have you achieved your final form?!
All this effort to make being an Apple product user seem incredibly expensive at a time when the entire low end of Apple’s lineup — the iPhone SE, 8th generation iPad and M1-based Mac mini — are delivering a level of bang for the buck that their competition can only dream of.
But are these headphones expensive? Well, they are too expensive for the Macalope. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re too expensive for what they are. The Macalope has had a look around his forest home and noticed a non-surprising lack of Fabergé eggs, Lamborghinis and those fancy indoor swimming pools where you can swim forever without going anywhere.
Our ancestors think those are hilarious, by the way. “Ha, I had to swim out beyond the breakers to get food so my family could survive but, no, it’s cool that you’re getting some exercise.”
This is not to say that the Macalope puts AirPods Max on a par with the Lamborghini. The Macalope really doesn’t know how good AirPods Max are because he wasn’t given any to review. This is the problem with being a mythical creature. No one ever wants to send you stuff because the delivery options are very complicated and involve sitting on toadstools for days on end or whispering into the crack at the base of an ancient oak tree.
And Gary. Gary is the Macalope’s intern and just between you and me he’s not that reliable.
NOTHING, GARY. NOT TALKING TO YOU.
Not having been given a pair to review, the Macalope is also not going to buy a pair. So, like anything that’s out of his price range, he honestly has no idea how good they are. He just knows that he’s not prepared to spend that amount of money on audio products, no matter how good they are.
And that’s OK.
One pundit insisted Apple was making “a familiar mistake” (tip o' the antlers again to @designheretic) by not at least shipping a cheaper version with a reduced feature set. Shipping a cheaper version is not an unreasonable suggestion, but if Apple's strategy is a mistake it’s not exhibited by the company’s estimation of how many they hoped to sell initially. As of this writing, shipping times for all colors of the AirPods Max are at 12 weeks or more.
This may be shocking to the pearl clutchers of the of the pundit class, but not every product has to be for everyone.