While reviewers have generally been impressed by Apple’s AirPods Max over-ear headphones, there have been two frequent complaints: the terrible design of the ‘bra’ case, and the fact that AirPods Max doesn’t see a way to turn off the headphones: they don’t see this Put in a case that no one wants to carry.
A YouTuber did some experiments to reveal good and bad news …
Good News is There is a way to shut down AirPods Max without Apple’s case – and one we can expect to be adopted by third-party case makers.
The bad news is that there is no practical way to do this without using any kind of case. In particular, you cannot turn them off when they are bent around your neck, which is how many people carry on-ear and over-ear headphones with use.
It was clear that in the case the power had to be controlled by the magnets, so the YouTube channel Emergent Technology Set about figuring out where the magnetic sensors in the headphones were, and how easy it would be to power them using your own magnets.
Magnets can be tracked without removing the headphones: all you need is some magnetic viewing film costing a few dollars. Wikipedia This explains how it works.
Magnetic field viewing film is used to show stationary or (less often) slowly changing magnetic fields; It shows their location and direction. It is a transparent thin flexible sheet, coated with micro-capsules with nickel flakes suspended in oil. When the magnetic lines of force are parallel to the surface of the carrier sheet, the flakes surface is reflected, and appears bright. When the lines of force are perpendicular to the sheet, the flakes are sideways, and appear to be considerably darker. When the film is placed on the pole of the magnet, the latter case is applied.
However, magnetic sensors were not powerful enough to show in this way, so YouTuber had to resort to trial-and-error using some weak fridge magnets, looking for headphones to disconnect from their iPhone.
This method showed that the sensors are on the back side of the casing. Applying magnets at both points reduces the power of the headphones, while removing them empowers them. You can see it in the video below.
Obviously moving the magnets around and then hoping that they stay in place is not very practical when you move the headphones, but knowing the location of the sensors makes it more attractive and protective for third party companies. The case becomes practical for making AirPods Max. It also means that if you work with a sewing machine you can make your own.
One of my favorite leather bag companies, Waterfields, has already announced that it is working on a case. To find out what the owners of AirPods Max would like from a case, a San Francisco-based company has a three-question survey that you can complete here.
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