Apple began working on its recently unveiled AirPods Max headphones over four years ago, according to tweets by a former Apple engineer.
However, the timeline of their development apparently extended much further than that, based on now-deleted tweets by former Apple engineer Dinesh Dave (@appleidinesh).
Ryan Jones was able to capture images of the tweets and re-share them after they were removed. In the tweets, Dave linked to Apple’s AirPods Max announcement and claimed that “the last product NDA I signed is finally out!”
Responding to another Twitter user who asked when the NDA was signed, Dave replied: “~4 years.”
Apple first launched the AirPods line almost exactly four years ago, in December 2016, after which their popularity grew rapidly. As Jones notes in his tweet, Apple likely saw the “insane demand” for AirPods and decided to explore additional potential products in the now-vast “hearables” category.
Prior to their official announcement on Tuesday, subsequent rumors about the headphones focused not only on design and features, but also protracted delays that Apple was said to be experiencing in production. Rumors predicted various launch dates for the headphones that continually missed their mark, from launching in late 2018 to sometime in the second half of 2019. AirPods Max are now available to pre-order on Apple’s website, with a launch date of December 15, although there are already massive wait times for shipping running into March 2021.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman previously reported that Apple tested at least two versions of the headphones, including a “premium version with leather-like fabrics” – aka AirPods Max – and a “fitness-focused model that uses lighter, breathable materials with small perforations,” so we may well see an additional version of the headphones sometime next year.