Apple’s flagship over-ear headphones might have a sweat problem.
According to a report from 404 Media, parts of the internet where people talk about tech (including Reddit) have reported incidents of “condensation death” happening to the $550 AirPods Max. The headphones reportedly temporarily malfunction or even stop working entirely in some cases due to moisture buildup after prolonged use.
That this is happening isn’t new; as 404 points out, this was reported as early as January 2021, a few months after the headphones first launched. What is interesting is that there’s a class-action lawsuit stuck in the California court system. Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the problem, but the company’s lawyers told the court that condensation problems are normal for over-ear headphones, and the problem is that it’s more noticeable on AirPods Max due to the product’s removable ear cups.
As Apple tries to negotiate a settlement with the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, its lawyers have also argued that the AirPods Max were never marketed as water-resistant and that many online complaints stem from people using the headphones inappropriately, such as in long, outdoor walks.
It’s not clear yet what will happen with this lawsuit, obviously. There’s recent precedent for Apple agreeing to pay out settlements on class-action suits over hardware defects, but no one can guarantee that will happen here. This is mostly interesting because a very pricey Apple product has apparently suffered from a known problem for almost three years and the company hasn’t done anything about it in the public eye.
As a reminder, the Beats Studio Pro headphones are also excellent and cost $200 less.