What Are Limited Edition AirPods?

Apple occasionally releases limited edition AirPods – but what are they?

What are limited edition AirPods, you may be wondering? It seems weird that Apple would release anything that is a limited edition, right? After all, Apple is a consumer goods company and companies in such industries want to release and sell as many products as possible.

And Apple doesn’t sell their products as collectibles anyway (though there are collectors of Apple products), so again, the limited edition Apple product seems very un-Apple-like.

Yet from time to time Apple does release limited edition AirPods. Here’s what you need to know about them…


Apple’s Current AirPods Lineup

As of January 2022, Apple currently sells three different versions of the AirPods.

There are the AirPods (2nd generation). These have the long stem design (like the original AirPods) and retail for $129. For that, you get Hey Siri support, an H1 chip, and a wired charging case.

Then there are the AirPods (3rd generation). These have an all-new short stem design and retail for $179. They include Hey Siri support, spatial audio support, an H1 chip, water resistance, and a MagSafe charging case.

Finally, there are the AirPods Pro. These have a short stem design (and are the AirPods the 3rd generation AirPods are modeled after). Their killer feature is Active Noise Cancelation and changeable ear tips. They also support Hey Siri and come with a MagSafe charging case. They retail for $249.


Limited Edition AirPods

Then there are the occasional limited edition AirPods Apple releases. As far as we can tell, Apple’s only released two editions of the limited edition AirPods – the 2021 and 2022 models.

However, don’t think these limited edition AirPods have new tech not found in other AirPods. The limited-edition AirPods instead feature a special emoji engraved on the AirPods cases and on the packaging. That emoji is in celebration of the Chinese new year.

For example, Apple’s 2021 limited edition AirPods featured an AirPods Pro with a special Ox emoji engraved on its case and box. Why an Ox? Because 2021 was the Year of the Ox.

Apple’s 2022 limited edition AirPods featured an AirPods Pro with a special Tiger emoji engraved on the case in honor of it being the Year of the Tiger.

Regardless of the special custom emojis engraved on the AirPods Pro case, the AirPods Pros themselves are exactly like the regular editions of the same device. The limited-edition AirPods also cost the same price as the regular AirPods Pro.

Where Are Limited Edition AirPods Sold?

Apple has never sold these limited edition AirPods in the West. And even in the East (where Chinese new year is more readily celebrated), Apple has only sold the limited edition AirPods in China, Macao, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.


How “Limited” Are Limited Edition AirPods?

They are surprisingly limited. Considering Apple sells millions of AirPods every quarter, the limited edition AirPods are relatively scarce. How scarce? As MacRumors notes, the 2021 Year of the Ox limited edition AirPods only had 25,400 units available. 13,920 f those were available for online purchase, while 11,480 were sold in stores.

How Do I Get Limited Edition AirPods?

In order to get limited edition AirPods, you need to buy them when Apple has them on sale – and before they sell out. That means you need to be located in China, Macao, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and order via the online Apple store in that region or go into a retail store.

Alternately, Apple collectors should look on sites like eBay to see if any of the limited edition AirPods are being resold there.

And check out:

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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