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Apple to Sell AirPods Max Over-the-Ear Headphones for $549


Apple Inc.

AAPL 0.51%

on Tuesday revealed plans to sell AirPods-branded over-the-ear headphones, an expansion of its product lineup in a direct strike against companies such as Bose Corp. and

Sony Corp.

SNE 0.01%

Apple’s new AirPods Max will cost $549 and promise noise canceling, advanced acoustics and up to 20 hours of battery life, the company said. The headphones, which go on sale today and begin shipping next week, are coming a little more than a year after Apple introduced a high-end version of its AirPods wireless earbuds. AirPods are now one of Apple’s most successful new products.

The Cupertino, Calif., company also said it plans next week to begin selling a subscription fitness service around its Apple Watch costing $10 a month or $80 a year. The announcement puts Apple in steeper competition with

Peloton Interactive Inc.,

PTON 1.39%

which in addition to its fitness equipment has invested in its digital platform that offers subscriptions to workout classes and more.

In recent years, Apple has been looking to broaden its offering of wearable products and services through them amid slowing iPhone sales, though the company has recently benefited from an uptick in demand for its laptops, iPads and digital services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple’s over-the-ear headphone offerings for years had been centered on its Beats products. Apple bought Beats for nearly $3 billion in 2014 as part of a broader deal to bolster its music business.

But since that time, Apple has built up its wearables business. The company introduced AirPods in 2016, and they pair seamlessly with all of Apple’s devices. AirPods have proven to be a major product hit and have helped Apple to be less dependent on iPhones, which make up about 50% of company sales.

In the fiscal year ended Sept. 26, Apple’s revenue from wearables—which includes headphones, watches and other accessories—was $7.88 billion, up about 21% from the previous fiscal year.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com

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