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Apple selling new AirPods Pro coinciding with the Year of the Tiger in certain markets

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Another year, another emoji engraving

Apple is now selling a new set of special edition AirPod Pros (via 9to5Mac) in time for the Chinese New Year, which begins on February 1st, 2022. Just as the previous Year of the Ox, Apple is engraving a special emoji on the AirPods Pro case — this time, themed for the Year of the Tiger.

At first glance, it seems like only the standard tiger emoji is featured on the case — but turns out, it’s just a bit more snazzy with sparkles and fireworks surrounding the tiger face topped off with a cute tiger growly-face hood. Other than that, the only other difference is the retail box has the same emoji in red on the sides.

New special edition Year of the Tiger AirPods on the left comparing to AirPods Pro with a regular tiger emoji on the right.
Images from Apple Store website

The new Special Edition AirPods Pro - Tiger (the official name) is available to order now in several Asian markets, including Hong Kong (with a heavy backorder until May 1st as of writing), where it retails for HK$1,999 ($256.38 USD).

Apple also is giving away free red envelopes with a golden embossing of different Chinese zodiac emojis — all wearing the same tiger hood. It’s a cute addition for those traditionally gifting money for the celebration of the new year but is only available if purchased in an Apple Store that sells the special edition AirPods.

While people in markets like the US might feel left out — you could just order regular AirPods Pro and get a free tiger emoji engraving... it’s really not that different. The existence of these yearly special editions is perhaps a literal product of courting the Chinese market — a country in which Apple historically has had to bend to stay competitive.

Apple’s Beats by Dre brand also put out a pair of new Beats Studio Buds — which has a case that is adorned with golden tribal-style tiger stripes on a classic Beats red body. The stripes continue onto the actual buds themselves, unlike the standard-fare buds the special edition AirPods Pro come with.