Cyber Monday is all about saving money right now. Not later, when you've saved up again to splurge on holiday gifts. That's why I'm not a huge fan of Apple's penchant for offering Apple Gift Cards instead of discounts. More frustrating, still, Apple further muddies the waters by offering free engravings. If you ask me, that's not worth it, either.
To be clear, Apple's Cyber Monday Deals gift cards, which range from $50 / £50 to as much as $250 / £250 for a Macbook Pro, are nothing to sneeze at. Even so, friends and family have asked me the same question that's been nagging at me since Black Friday: "Why not a real discount?"
I explain that Apple is so hell-bent on you buying more Apple products that it likes to stack the odds in its favor by handing you a gift card that can only be used with Apple.
Today, though, someone pointed out that not only does Apple offer a $50 gift card off its excellent AirPods Pro 2, "but they throw in free engraving!"
I stared back at them with hard-set eyes and a frown. "And what good is that in the end, really?"
My point was, what is that engraving really worth? Yes, there's a moment of joy when someone looks down at their personalized Apple gift and sees letters gently etched just for them. Now, instead of just words, we can add emojis. Doesn't that sound like fun?
It does, but I don't think the engravings make it worth skipping one of the true $199 AirPods Pro 2 deals you can get at Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy.
Why don't engravings turn me on?
The very first iPad I gave my wife, almost a decade ago, was engraved to her with something silly, "Mom's iPad. No you touchy." I know, I am so funny 🤦♂
Where is that iPad today? I have no idea. She's since moved on to her second one and is probably due for another iPad upgrade shortly.
My kids' broken and long-ago discarded iPods also had their names engraved on them.
My point is, you're giving up cash discounts for personalization that, in the long run, won't matter much at all. AirPods Pro 2 will eventually stop accepting a charge or, a couple of years from now, you'll upgrade to AirPods Pro 3. Are you recycling the personalized AirPods case? When you buy a new one, do you repeat the engraving?
Overall, I think Apple doesn't quite get the spirit of Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and the whole Holiday Shopping experience. It's not just about getting and giving the gifts, it's about the gamesmanship of saving money. Who doesn't love to tell people about how much they saved on a PS5, an iPhone 14, Sonos Beam, or AirPods Pro 2? No one talks in gift cards and even fewer add, "But at least I got it engraved."
Check out the Cyber Monday deals below:
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation): was
$249 now $199.99 at Amazon
One of today's best Cyber Monday deals is Apple's best-selling AirPods Pro 2 on sale for $199.99 - a new record-low price. Apple's all-new earbuds include improved audio quality and noise cancellation and include a wireless charging case that provides more than 24 hours of battery life. Today's deal is better than we saw during Prime Day, and we don't predict it will stick around for long.
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation): was
$249 now $199.99 at Walmart
As we noted above, everyone else is offering $199.99 AirPods Pro 2 without asking you to accept a gift card as money or dangling engraving in front of you as if that's a deal-maker. While this is now the standard Cyber Monday deal, the clock is ticking and it may be back to $249.99 in a jiffy.
Apple AirPods Pro (1st Gen):
$169.99 $159 at Walmart
This Black Friday Apple deal drops the first-generation AirPods Pro down to $139.99, which is the lowest price we've ever seen. The AirPods Pro include solid noise cancellation, adjustable silicone ear tips, and a handy charging case. The second-generation AirPods launched earlier this year with a number of upgrades, but they're almost $100 more expensive, so this is a more affordable way to get some of Apple's premium earbuds.
Apple AirPods (2nd Gen): was
$159 now $79 at Amazon
This is the lowest price Apple's cheapest AirPods have ever been. They once hit the same price briefly in the past, but that's it – there's never been a better reduction otherwise. Even better, they've been discounted by 50% for Cyber Monday. They lack the Spatial Audio and improved sound quality of the AirPods 3rd Gen, and they don't have the active noise cancellation of the AirPods Pro. But you still get smart features, such as instant pairing, auto switching between devices, and Find My support.
Apple AirPods 3rd Gen with MagSafe Case: was
$169.98 now $139.98 at Sam's Club
This is the cheapest we've ever seen the 3rd-gen AirPods. The latest non-Pro AirPods give you improved sound over the classic AirPods 2nd Gen, plus Spatial Audio, which is wonderful with movies especially. You don't get the in-ear fit or noise cancellations that you get from the Pros, but not everyone wants that anyway.
More US Cyber Monday deals
- Amazon: 50% off TVs, Apple Watch, clothing, vacuums, and toys
- Apple AirPods 2: on sale for $234 at Amazon
- Best Buy: up to $700 off TVs, laptops, appliances, and more
- Cheap TVs: $79.99 smart TVs from Best Buy
- Christmas decor: up to 54% off trees, garlands, and wreaths
- Dell: laptops from $299.99
- Gifts ideas: 40% off holiday gifts for the family from Amazon
- Home Depot: 50% off tools, major appliances, and holiday decor
- Lowe's: up to $750 off appliances, Christmas decor and tools
- Overstock: 70% off holiday decor, furniture, and Christmas trees
- Nectar: save up to $500 on mattresses, plus $499 in free gifts
- Nordstrom: up to 50% off UGG, makeup, Nike, jewelry, and more
- Samsung: up to $2,500 TVs, major appliances, and smartwatches
- Target: 45% off toys, Christmas decor, coffee makers, and more
- Toys: up to 50% off best-selling toys at Walmart
- Verizon: get the iPhone 14 Pro for free with trade-in
- Walmart: toys, TVs, vacuums, and laptops starting at $19.99
- Wayfair: up to 80% off couches, rugs, and more, plus free shipping
More UK Cyber Monday deals
- Amazon: up to 60% off TVs, laptops, and more
- Adidas: up to 50% off trainers and clothing
- AO: deals on appliances, headphones and TVs
- Argos: up to 1/3 off toys
- B&Q: 25% of Christmas decorations and tools
- Boots: half-price fragrances and make-up
- Box: up to £1,000 off TVs, laptops and PCs
- Currys: 40% off TVs, laptops and vacuums
- Dell: up to 45% off laptops and desktops
- Disney: 30% off Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar
- Dyson: best-price guarantee on vacuums and hair care
- EE: unlimited data SIMs from £14 per month
- Game: consoles, games and accessories from £4.99
- Ikea: Christmas tree + £10 voucher for £25
- John Lewis: up to 40% off tech, fashion and home
- Lego: popular sets from under £10 - plus free gifts
- Ninja: save up to £90 on air fryers and pans
- Peloton: up to £500 off
- Reebok: up to 50% off sitewide
- Samsung: up to £250 off phones and tablets
- Shark: up to £220 off cordless vacuum cleaners
- Sonos: 20% off portable speakers and soundbars
- Very: offers on TVs, Lego and fashion
- Virgin: broadband deals from £25 per month
- Wayfair: furniture, lighting and mattress deals
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A 35-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.
Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.