Here's the trick, and the best part: despite the joint's complexity, you can detach the entire headband from AirPods Max with just a SIM card removal tool or paperclip, without even opening the ear cup.
When fully assembled, a little poke in just the right place compresses two tiny springs inside the joint, freeing the clamp that secures the headband.
We were as shocked as you are. Did Apple put this tiny hole here with repair in mind? Portability? Both? Is $550 starting to seem ... reasonable?
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