Apple has performed the ultimate bait and switch by releasing high-end and rather expensive headphones which are not supported by their new high-end lossless streaming music service.
Apple has confirmed the $549 AirPods Max can not playback Apple’s lossless music, telling T3:
Apple has confirmed to T3 that this equipment, sadly, does not include AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. Both of Apple’s elite headphone models only use the Bluetooth AAC codec when connected to an iPhone, which means they can’t receive the full quality of the Apple Music ‘Lossless’ files, which will be encoded as ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) files.
The same of course applies to the regular Airpods and Airpods Pro, but that is a lot more forgivable for the tiny in-ear wireless headphones.
Unlike other high-end wireless headphones, the Airpods Max also lacks a headphone jack, meaning even if your laptop supports ALAC decoding, you will need to buy a new set of audiophile headphones to enjoy it. In fact that will not be enough, as you still need an external Digital to Audio Converter (DAC) to extract the best quality from the lossless music.
I am sure Apple is hard at work on the Apple Airpod Max Pro, however, which will solve the Apple-created problem for a mere $799.