AirPods Max 'devastatingly overengineered' but repairable, demonstrates teardown

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Repair specialists at iFixit have completed a teardown of AirPods Max, demonstrating Apple's "obsessive craftsmanship" that makes other offerings look "like toys, by comparison."

For example, the headband portion of the AirPods Max appears to be easily removable with a simple SIM ejection tool. As iFixit puts it, "a little poke in just the right place compresses two tiny springs ... freeing the clamp that secures the headband."

That ease of disassembly runs counter to the complexity of some AirPods Pro components. The electromechanical hinge is described by the repair site as "both intricate and overbuilt." It even adds that the engineering and design may justify the steep price of the headphones.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit

Other components are not as easily disassembled as the headbands, but user repairs are still possible. Getting into the actual ear cup portions of the AirPods Max requires some specialized screwdriver bits and the melting of some adhesive, but tearing it down is still user-achievable.

Although not for the faint of heart, it's possible to access key components like the battery and Lightning port by disassembling the earphones. The latter component is responsible both for charging and listening, since the AirPods Max lacks 3.5mm auxiliary cable compatibility.

The teardown concludes by likening the design of AirPods Max to a mechanical watch. Its components are "intricate," "precision-engineered," and its design is more complicated than other headphones on the market.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit

However, the AirPods Max is still surprisingly repairable despite the complexity. Some parts, like the easily-removable ear cushions and headband, are even described as "DIY-friendly."

"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," iFixit writes.

As a result of those service-friendly touches, iFixit has given the AirPods Max a repair score of six. It's the first non-zero score assigned to an AirPods product.

Credit: iFixit
Credit: iFixit

Of course, users should take care before carrying out any repairs — even if they're easier than expected. It isn't clear at this point if removing the headband, as an example, voids the device's warranty.