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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Earlier this week, we highlighted a couple of third-party accessories that seek to address some of the shortcomings of Apple's AirPods Max Smart Case, including a new zippered case from WaterField Designs that does a much better job of protecting the headphones while not in use.

Our videographer Dan has had a chance to try out the new $99 leather Shield Case from WaterField, and he's come away impressed with its quality and usefulness. He does feel, however, that this is the sort of thing that should have shipped with the AirPods Max in the first place rather than necessitating a third-party accessory purchase on top of the $549 price tag for the AirPods Max themselves.


The Shield Case is certainly bulky, but there's not much WaterField could have done about that considering the design of the AirPods Max that only allows the ear cups to be turned inward and doesn't permit a more compact folded arrangement seen on many other over-ear headphones.

If you can live with the bulk, the Shield Case offers several nice features, including a zippered design that completely protects the AirPods Max, unlike Apple's Smart Case that leaves the headband and even portions of the ear cups exposed.


In addition to the main compartment for the AirPods Max, the Shield Case includes three smaller pockets for cables and other accessories: a deep, padded one with a zippered closure on the front of the case, a mesh one on the rear, and a tiny one with a velcro closure inside the case.

One of the primary benefits of Apple's Smart Case is that it can immediately put your AirPods Max into a low-power mode to conserve battery, making use of magnets embedded in the case to trigger the mode. WaterField's Shield Case does the same thing, thanks to what it calls the Magnetic Leather Butterfly, a leather flap with embedded magnets that not only triggers low-power mode but also helps keep the two AirPods Max ear cups from touching each other while in the case.


If you want to bring your Smart Case along with your AirPods Max, the Shield Case has you covered there as well, as the AirPods Max/Smart Case combo fits inside just fine and the leather butterfly folds down out of the way.


All in all, the Shield Case from WaterField Designs is a quality product that does its job well. It's a bit pricey at $99, but when you're already willing to spend $549 on the AirPods Max, it might be a worthwhile add-on to help protect your purchase.

The Shield Case is available in four styles: Chocolate Leather and Waxed Canvas, Black Leather with Ballistic Nylon, Blue Leather with Ballistic Nylon, and Crimson Leather with Ballistic Nylon. Similar to the AirPods Max themselves, the Shield Case is in short supply, with new orders scheduled to ship on February 19.

Article Link: Hands-On With the AirPods Max Shield Case From WaterField Designs
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macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2010
Great company, interior design is adequately finished and thoughtful, but goodness that exterior case shape - still looks like a purse, leather options and leather finish is gross. Square it off and ballistic nylon should be an option.


macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2011
Apple should just have left the crappy purse out of it and sold the APM for $20 less. Then people could buy whatever suites them.
that’s what I have been saying the whole time too. The iPhone doesn’t come with a case, and some people like to buy leather cases and some people buy the ugly armored shatter proof cases that make your iPhone as thick as a phone book. to each his own!
looks awful IMO
I agree. I hope that Pad and Quill will do better


macrumors regular
Nov 3, 2014
Having headphones on all the time is GREAT! I am using mine loads because of the simplicity of just putting them on my head with no dumb long button presses etc.. And the battery life I find Is great. Mine just hang on the wall ( not in their weird case ) just naked, next to my Mac and they go thru 10 percent a day maybe with use. NO complaints here at all. I also thing the Waterfield case is rather ugly but premium. Not sure what to do if travelling yet with them though.


Sep 13, 2008
Portland, OR
Cool, just another 100 dollars to correct Apple's egregious design. How much extra to add a power on/off option?

No need to turn them off.

Works the same as with iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, MacBook, iMac, and AirPods. I can't think of any Apple mobile device made in the last 10 years that needs to be turned off, yet you picked this particular product to moan about.


macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2007
Leather or waxed canvas is too much of a one off/custom thing for Apple to include it originally. But these are what was missing.

Anyone who buys AirPods Max and doesn't buy this is subject to the 'I can't hear broke' stuff from the early days of AirPods.


macrumors G4
Nov 9, 2015
Silicon Valley, CA

The Shield Case is certainly bulky, but there's not much WaterField could have done about that considering the design of the AirPods Max that only allows the ear cups to be turned inward and doesn't permit a more compact folded arrangement seen on many other over-ear headphones.
Look some headphones are designed to fold or pivot to more compact positions such as the popular ATH-M50x, but the AirPod Max follows the more traditional single pivot on each ear meaning they only turn inward for placement in a case. Perhaps for too long we seen nothing but the cheapest examples of Wireless Headphones.

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