Apple has suffered a huge embarrassment with their recently announced Air Pods Max headphones. While the super expensive $500 headphones get excellent reviews for their audio quality, design, materials and build quality, it’s been ridiculed for the dinky “Smart case” that’s supplied with it. It’s less of a case and more a cheaply made cover for the ear cups, providing little protection for the rest of the product. Yet it’s needed because magnets within the case are the only way to turn off the headphones. There’s no off-on switch, meaning if you don’t use this little cover (some compare it to the top half of a bikini), your battery will die more quickly. The other problem with this case is it doesn’t protect against a drop and doesn’t prevent the headband or the rest of the headphone from becoming dirty. Considering the headphone is offered in a number of pastel and light colors, reviews report that they’re quickly getting grimy in its first week of use.
Yet, within days of the reviews appearing in the media, WaterField Designs, a San Francisco designer and manufacturer of laptop sleeves, bags, and cases for digital gear, is announcing a solution: the Apple AirPods Max Shield Case, a refined and professional-looking case that protects the headphones with or without the Apple Smart Case, preserves battery life, allows in-case charging, and stows accessories.
It combines full-grain leather with waxed canvas or ballistic nylon for a modern look that complements Apple’s sleek
headphones. A Magnetic Leather Butterfly acts as a buffer between the ear cups and triggers the AirPods Max into low-power mode. When used in conjunction with the Apple Smart Case, the magnets lie flat. Space-efficient pockets stow cords and accessories, and a luxuriously soft interior cradles the AirPods Max.
“When Apple introduced the AirPods Max, our community clamored for a new case,” said WaterField Designs owner Gary Waterfield. “So, we surveyed over 1,200 Apple enthusiasts to understand their needs and then incorporated their feedback into our design. They requested a case that is compact, protective, professional-looking, and capable of carrying a few accessories.They were evenly divided regarding the Apple Smart Case; one camp wanted a case that encompasses the Apple Smart Case while the other wanted a case that replaces it altogether and puts the headphones into low-power mode. It was an exciting challenge to create a case that
satisfies both camps and that addresses their other wishes as well.”
Unlike generic cases that are marketed as specific to Apple’s new headphones, the AirPods Max Shield Case is truly bespoke. A Magnetic Leather Butterfly lies flat when the Smart Case is stowed inside the WaterField case but triggers the headphones into low power mode when the headphones are stowed inside by themselves. Thoughtfully-designed pockets hold an array of accessories while maintaining the case’s compact form. Rugged materials, shock-absorbing foam, and waterproof zippers help protect the prized headphones.
• Compact and custom-fitted to hold and protect AirPods Max with or without a Smart
• Innovative Magnetic Leather Butterfly keeps ear cups separated and triggers AirPods
Max low power mode to preserve battery life. The Butterfly lies flat when headphones are
stowed with the Apple Smart Case.
• Zip-around closure with dual zipper sliders allows for in-case charging.
• Top and bottom layers of closed-cell foam help disperse external forces and resist
• Plush lining, as soft as a puppy’s ear, backed with additional soft foam keeps AirPods
• Stretch mesh pocket with a leather closure utilizes negative interior space to fit a 5W to
20W Apple Power Adapter and charging and headphone cords.
• Plush-lined exterior zippered pocket keeps extra cords, AirPods Pro, or other small
electronic accessories readily accessible.
• Open-topped, stretch mesh, rear pocket stows an iPhone, and/or additional accessories.
• Top nylon loop facilitates a quick grab when carrying the case solo and hooks onto a
carabiner for attaching to a strap or stashing the case inside another bag.
• Rugged black ballistic nylon or waxed canvas paired with full-grain leather and smooth
waterproof zippers help protect headphones from the elements.
WaterField has designed and manufactured custom cases for Apple gear since Steve Jobs
first announced the Titanium PowerBook in 2001. The highly-functional, luxury AirPods Max
Shield Case joins WaterField’s collection of cases for Apple gear that includes handsome
bags and sleeves for MacBooks and iPads, iPhone cases, Magic Keyboard and TrackPad
sleeves, an Apple TV Case, and a leather Apple Pencil Pouch. All WaterField products are
handcrafted to exacting standards in San Francisco.
Availability & Pricing
AirPods Max Shield Case
Colors and materials: black ballistic nylon with premium, full-grain leather in black, blue, or crimson. Tan waxed canvas with distressed, full-grain, chocolate leather. Ultra-plush, foam-backed interior lining. Closed-cell foam inserts. Stretch mesh (two of three pockets).
Waterproof zippers. Custom metal zipper pulls.
Dimensions: 9.5 x 9 (at widest points) x 2.25 inches.
Weight: ballistic nylon—11 oz; waxed canvas–14.5 oz.
Pre-orders are now being taken for shipments beginning December 31, 2020.
This is the case that addresses a problem that Apple never bothered to solve, but one that every user will benefit from. And knowing how well Waterfield’s products are constructed and the excellent materials used, the $99 price is an excellent value.