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Apple's AirPods Max will work with Windows 10 ... kind of

Apple Airpods Max With Iphone
Apple Airpods Max With Iphone (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple recently announced the AirPods Max headphones.
  • The headphones feature H1 chips, which allows some of their features to work with Windows and Android.
  • Some features, such as spatial audio, only work with Apple hardware.

Apple just announced the AirPods Max headphones. The high-end over-ear headphones have plenty of fancy features, some great color options, and will work seamlessly with Apple hardware, such as Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Unsurprisingly, some of the features of the AirPods Max will only work with Apple hardware, but that doesn't mean Windows users are left entirely in the cold. The first shipments of AirPods Max are set to arrive on December 15, 2020. You can order a pair now for $549 (opens in new tab).

As reported by Stephen Nellis from Reuters, the AirPods Max have an H1 audio processor in each ear, which allows transparency mode and noise cancellation to work on Windows and Android devices. Other features, such as spatial audio, will only work with specific Apple hardware.

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This is par for the course for Apple hardware. If you're on Apple hardware and software across the board, you'll get a seamless experience and excellent support. If you mix in hardware or software from other companies, such as a Windows 10 PC, you'll get some support but will miss out on some features.

While some of our readers are loyal to one operating system, many people have a combination of iOS, Android, and Windows devices. While it won't be the best experience for the AirPods Max, it's nice that someone who picks up the headphones for their iPhone, iPad, or other supported device can still use them to some capacity with their Windows PC or Android device.

Our sister site iMore covered the launch of the AirPods Max and will follow up with more coverage as they start shipping. Make sure to check out their coverage for all the latest on Apple's latest and greatest headphones.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

3 Comments
  • I find it funny that companies like Apple and Sony make 3D spatial audio sound magical and unique. Sony has their fanboys gasping at the amazement of Tempest Audio when it was merely another 3D audio engine that was created so Sony didn't have to pay royalties to support current ones like Dolby Atmos. I like Dolby Atmos for Headphones. There are quite a few 3D audio standards out there. Heck, Windows has Windows Sonic built in and in some ways, it's better than Dolby Atmos for headphones. And just so people know, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos for headphones are 2 different techologies.
  • I don't know about the Apple solution but the tempest engine is more than just Dolby Atmos, if it wasn't then Microsoft wouldn't have made a similar one for the Series X/S
  • So, Apple just saying, that if you are don't have Apple devices - don't buy Apple AirPods. OK, Apple.