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Apple adds over-ear AirPods Max to wearables lineup

Apple unveiled the AirPods Max, over-ear wireless headphones that will retail for $549 beginning Dec. 15.

The AirPods Max feature active noise cancelation and 40-mm drivers. Apple already sold over-ear headphones through the Beats brand it acquired in 2014, but the AirPods Max will be the first to sell under the Apple brand. In October, Apple pulled all third-party headphones and wireless speakers from its online and physical retail stores.

Apple's AirPods lineup now includes the $159 standard AirPods, the $249 AirPods Pro, and the $549 AirPods Max. The price tag on the AirPods Pro Max comes in much higher than many competitors in the over-ear headphone market — Bose's equivalent headphones, for example, retail for $270.

AirPods have been instrumental to Apple's success in growing its wearables business. For the three months ended Sept. 26, 2020, Apple reported $14.5 billion in revenue from its Wearables, Home and Accessories business, representing 20.8% growth from the previous year. Apple CFO Luca Maestri announced in July that the company's wearables business had grown to the size of a Fortune 140 company.

Big Tech benefits from Biden’s sweeping immigration actions

Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai praised President Biden's immigration actions, which read like a tech industry wishlist.

Newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden signed two immigration-related executive orders on Wednesday.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Immediately after being sworn in as president Wednesday, Joe Biden signed two pro-immigration executive orders and delivered an immigration bill to Congress that reads like a tech industry wishlist. The move drew enthusiastic praise from tech leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

President Biden nullified several of former-President Trump's most hawkish immigration policies. His executive orders reversed the so-called "Muslim ban" and instructed the attorney general and the secretary of Homeland Security to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which the Trump administration had sought to end. He also sent an expansive immigration reform bill to Congress that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals and make it easier for foreign U.S. graduates with STEM degrees to stay in the United States, among other provisions.

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Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

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