Apple has made some major announcements related to its popular AirPods product line just in time for the peak holiday shopping season. As consumers hunt for deals on the biggest shopping days of the year, Apple aims to generate buzz and sales around recently upgraded AirPods models while also offering rare discounts on other products.
AirPods Pro 2nd Generation Get First-Ever Price Cut for Black Friday
The crown jewel of Apple’s audio product lineup, the AirPods Pro 2nd generation, received its first-ever price cut for Black Friday. Marking the headphones down from $249 to $199, Apple hopes to attract new customers who have been waiting for a more affordable entry point for the high-end earbuds.
The $50 discount brings the AirPods Pro 2 down to their lowest price ever just two months after their September launch. The timely price cut pits the AirPods Pro 2 against a wave of competitor earbuds that are also seeing major Black Friday promotions.
"Among all the Black Friday noise, this Apple deal stands out as one of the absolute best tech deals available," said CNN Underscored writer Mike Andronico. "The second-gen AirPods Pro only came out this September yet are already hitting an all-time low price for Black Friday. That’s unheard of for Apple products this new."
AirPods Pro 2 Key Upgrades
- Active noise cancellation
- Adaptive transparency mode
- Touch volume control
- 2x better noise canceling over Gen 1
- Precision finding using Apple Find My app
- Up to 30 hours total listening time with case
In addition to the rare price cut, the AirPods Pro 2 bring some meaningful upgrades over their predecessors:
Analysts and industry watchers view the AirPods Pro 2 discount as an aggressive move from Apple to acquire customers entering the wireless earbud market this holiday season. While supply chain issues depressed initial AirPods Pro 2 shipment volumes in the fall, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that orders were back on track to meet holiday demand.
"Apple is positioning its latest headphones to compete with other high-end models that are also seeing Black Friday deals," noted Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief of Tom’s Guide. "You can currently get the Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-cancelling earbuds for $178 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II for $249. But I’d still get the AirPods Pro 2 for the improved noise cancelling, better transparency mode and integration with Apple devices."
Black Friday Deal Slashes AirPods 3 Price to All-Time Low
Joining its flagship siblings in Apple’s Black Friday sale, the AirPods 3 saw a nearly 40% markdown down to $139 as Apple aims to drive premium headphone sales across price tiers.
The $60 discount on AirPods 3 allows Apple to offer headphones with the latest H1 chip at under $150 against low-cost competitors while still offering a higher-quality experience than older AirPods models.
Reviewers praised the mix of features and value delivered by the AirPods 3 at the Black Friday sale price.
"Apple’s AirPods 3 have been slashed to just $139 at Amazon today, beating this model’s Prime Day price and marking a new all-time low," wrote Louis Ramirez at Deal Stripe. "In our AirPods 3 review, we found them to deliver good sound, excellent battery life, and a comfortable fit."
AirPods 3 Key Features
- H1 Chip for fast pairing
- Adaptive EQ tuning
- Sweat and water resistance
- Spatial audio with head tracking
- Up to 30 hours battery life with case
With a more affordable latest-generation AirPods model on offer, Apple is hoping to capture gift buyers and stocking stuffers in addition to those looking for premium noise-cancelling models.
Analysts viewed the rare price cuts across Apple’s AirPods lineup as a move to shore up market share amid growing competition in the headphone space.
Biggest Apple Gift Card Offer Ever Incentivizes Black Friday Shoppers
In addition to AirPods deals, Apple unveiled gift card offers ranging from $50 to $200 with select purchases across the Apple ecosystem. The gift card amounts represent the largest incentives Apple has ever offered, including bigger bonuses than 2021’s Black Friday promotion.
Shoppers can score a $50 gift card with iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini, a $100 card with AirPods Max or specific Beats purchases, or a $200 gift card with MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, or iMac.
Highlighting the unprecedented nature of the Apple gift card deals, Tim Hardwick at MacRumors noted:
Rarely applied outside of major holiday shopping events like Black Friday, Apple is hoping the gift cards will prove enticing enough to splurge on more expensive Apple products in the coming weeks.
For price-conscious shoppers overwhelmed by choices across Apple’s catalog, the gift cards offer guaranteed savings to apply toward future Apple purchases.
Analysts viewed the gift card values as unusually high for a company that rarely offers direct discounts or incentives. The scale of the Black Friday promotions indicates Apple’s motivation to boost sales amid a potentially challenging holiday quarter.
Outlook: How Will Aggressive Promotions Move the Needle?
In offering both rare AirPods discounts and record-level gift card deals, Apple showed an appetite for promotions beyond what industry observers expected. The question now turns to whether the deals will actually boost sales or simply subsidize purchases that holiday shoppers were already planning to make.
Most analysts believe Apple’s discounts will incrementally lift demand during the vital holiday quarter. Consumers enticed by Apple gift cards may opt for more expensive models than previously planned, while price cuts open accessibility for some first-time buyers.
Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani summed up the incentives:
We think the gift card move will help stimulate demand around the Black Friday timeframe and potentially help accelerate slowing sales trends heading into December.
However, broader economic challenges weigh on the holiday shopping season, so massive upside is unlikely. With inflation and recession fears looming, overall holiday spending may fall shy of 2021’s blistering pace.
A Morgan Stanley survey found that only 26% of consumers expect to spend more this holiday season than last year. Though down from peak pandemic demand, Apple will aim for its deals and upgrades to capture as much share as possible of slowing market-wide sales.
Key Numbers to Watch
- Overall holiday retail sales growth compared to 2021
- iPhone sales relative to IDC forecasts of 3% year-over-year decline
- AirPods sell-through volume with discounts boosting demand
- Effect of gift cards on higher-priced Apple products like Macs
Apple’s Black Friday promotions set the stage for a potentially volatile holiday quarter. The company’s reaction to early sales trends will determine whether additional discounts materialize for Cyber Monday or other shopping dates throughout December.
For now, Apple heads into Thanksgiving weekend ready to push upgrading consumers toward AirPods and sweeten the pot across its ecosystem. The next few weeks will reveal whether the deals can overcome broad economic uncertainty and position Apple for a strong fiscal Q1 2023.
Table Comparing Key AirPods Models
|Black Friday Sale Price
|AirPods Pro 2
|Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio, Touch Controls, MagSafe Charging Case, Water Resistance
|Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio, Sweat/Water Resistant, Up to 30 Hours Total Listening Time
|Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency Mode, Spatial Audio, 20 Hours Listening Time, Smart Case
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.