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AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands

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It is possible to remove the headband of AirPods Max with just a standard SIM card ejector tool, hinting at the possibility of interchanging headbands to achieve a different colorway.

Image via Prelook


In December, MacRumors revealed the large variety of AirPods Max ear cushion color combinations when it became clear that they were magnetically attatched and available for sale separately. Now, it appears that AirPods Max have a more modular design than previously understood, as raised by MacRumors forums member "MayaTlab", who highlighted the tidbit from Chinese YouTube channel Prelook.

As mentioned in iFixit's teardown of AirPods Max, it is possible to easily remove the headband from AirPods Max without any disassembly of the headphones. Users simply need to remove the magnetic ear cushions, fold the earcups flat, and insert a SIM card ejector tool into a small hole above the speaker.

Here's the trick, and the best part: despite the joint's complexity, you can detach the entire headband from AirPods Max with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.

When fully assembled, a little poke in just the right place compresses two tiny springs inside the joint, freeing the clamp that secures the headband.

Once removed, the spokes on either side of the headband reveal a small connector for transferring power, and potentially data, between the earcups. It is also interesting that the connector bears some passing resemblance to the Lightning connector. It seems likely that users could swap the headbands from different AirPods Max units to achieve non-stock colorways much more easily than expected.

Replaceable headbands were one of the features believed to be removed from AirPods Max prior to launch. Before being announced, it was speculated that ‌AirPods Max‌ would offer unique customizability with interchangeable headbands and earcups, repeating the concept behind Apple Watch bands.

Apple's VP of industrial design Evans Hankey said that Apple prototyped hundreds of AirPods Max designs over a lengthy development period. Amid significant delays, Bloomberg correctly predicted that Apple would drop the concept of a replaceable headband to accelerate production:

Apple has also scaled back some of the interchangeable functionality of the headphones that were a hallmark of the initial concept. The latest version of the product is likely to lack a replaceable headband, but could still include interchangeable ear pads.

It is therefore possible that this system for removing the headband is a remnant of the original, more modular approach to AirPods Max. On the other hand, this hidden feature may exist purely to aid repairability, and could not be intended for general user interaction at all.

Nevertheless, it is extremely unusual for headphones that transfer power over the headband to make the part so easily removable. The ease of removing the headband and the small connector on either side looks to be a peculiarly well-developed concept and stands in striking contrast to the otherwise challenging repairability of the device.

Users who wish to attempt removal of the headband from AirPods Max should still take extreme caution as it is not yet clear if this action voids the product's warranty.

Article Link: AirPods Max Headband Removable With Just a SIM Ejector Tool, Hinting at Interchangeable Headbands
 
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appleguy123

macrumors 604
Apr 1, 2009
6,611
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15 minutes in the future
This would help you store AirPods Max more easily in a bag when traveling. It’s also good to know the headband is replaceable so easily. I preferred the white color but was worried about the band getting dirty quickly. This makes me a lot more likely to get white knowing I can remove the band to clean or replace it.
 
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alexjholland

macrumors 6502a
This would help you store AirPods Max more easily in a bag when traveling. It’s also good to know the headband is replaceable so easily. I preferred the white color but was worried about the band getting dirty quickly. This makes me a lot more likely to get white knowing I can remove the band to clean or replace it.
I wouldn't for one second consider a white headphone headband.

It will look good for - at most - several months.
 
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Darth Tulhu

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2019
1,041
1,495
Interesting how Apple, a company known for making repairs difficult, designed this this way.

I wonder how much replacing the headband will cost, and if Apple will do a carcass discount to the repair cost for, say, when the top mesh tears and needs replacing.
 
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Absrnd

macrumors 6502a
Apr 15, 2010
681
937
Flatland
Funny, when the Max was released, many if not everybody screamed about the fragile headband ( and about the price off course)
and when it gets damaged you are fu**ed :)

and now when it is shown that that "fragile" headband can easily be replaced, they start whining, why would you want to remove that !
 
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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
11,441
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I'm a rolling stone.
"Once removed, the spokes on either side of the headband reveal a small connector for transferring power, and potentially data, between the earcups. It is also interesting that the connector bears some passing resemblance to the Lightning connector."

Genius, I haven't seen such a smart way to connect one side to the other before.
 
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musicpenguy

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2006
1,674
610
Not sure why anyone would would want or need to remove the headband but okay ....
Repairable headphones are a huge deal - I need to replace headbands all the time in my Beats Studio 3s because it breaks over time - I expect this design to be more durable but still this is a part that I’m glad is easy to replace if damaged
 
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Geepaw

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2021
107
155
Repairable headphones are a huge deal - I need to replace headbands all the time in my Beats Studio 3s because it breaks over time - I expect this design to be more durable but still this is a part that I’m glad is easy to replace if damaged
Interesting, I did not realize that snapping or breaking the headbands is something that happens often to many people. It has never happened to me and I travel with my Beats regularly as well. If this kind of modular design is intended to assist in repairability than I can definitely appreciate the value add here.
 
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