AirPods Max 2 could feature touch controls instead of a Digital Crown

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Rumors about AirPods Max 2 are sparse, but a new patent granted to Apple could indicate where the company is going with a second-generation of its premium over-ear headphone.

According to Patently Apple, the Cupertino company just got another patent application from the US Patent & Trademark Office about processing gestures on a touch-sensitive surface. The publication says this is not the first time Apple has been granted a patent regarding touch controls on AirPods Max, as it has at least three other documents about this technology.

Apple’s summary notes that an electronic device includes: at least a first touch-sensitive surface; one or more processors; and memory storing one or more programs configured to be executed by the one or more processors, the one or more programs including instructions for: detecting, at the at least a first touch-sensitive surface, a first gesture, including detecting an orientation of the first gesture with respect to the touch-sensitive surface; and in response to detecting the first gesture: in accordance with a determination that the electronic device is in a first device orientation and that the orientation of the first gesture corresponds to a first predetermined orientation, performing a first action;


Touch controls on AirPods Max 2 could make it easier to jump songs, invoke Siri, turn the volume up or down, and more. As of now, having the Digital Crown is still a pretty clever and unique feature to Apple’s premium headphones. By the end of 2020 when the company unveiled its first-generation AirPods Max, the design team behind the product conceded an interview with Japanese design website Casa BRUTUS.

In that interview, Apple acknowledges that trialed touch controls for AirPods Max, but ultimately settled on the Digital Crown design instead. Maybe with AirPods Max 2, something could change.

As of now, it’s unclear whether Apple will unveil a new premium headphone. In 2021, Bloomberg said the company planned to launch new AirPods Max colors that year, but it didn’t happen.

A second-generation would come in handy if Apple addressed the Lossless controversy by adding support to a higher music quality to its premium headphones. Not only that, but adding a power button to AirPods Max would also solve problems with the headphone not turning off properly.

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