Apple's online store is running a rare sale on Beats headphones (AAPL)

Is this a big change in Apple's retail strategy?

As a luxury brand of sorts, Apple usually sells its products for exactly its manufacturer's suggested retail price, especially in its retail stores.

But Apple is breaking that tradition with a sale on Beats, Apple's audio-focused brand. MacRumors reports that three Apple products are on sale online and at stores, with some discounts as high as 25%.

Apple's site lists the prices as "special."

Here are the discounted products:

Note that the three Beats products on sale are not the latest or most high-tech. Apple last fall launched a new Pill and Solo headphones that pair more easily with Apple products, so these products have been largely replaced in the Beats lineup. The EP headphones are the entry-level pair that was introduced in September.

While the online Apple store has a section called Refurbished and Clearance, or Special Deals, it's focused on refurbished products that are about 10% off.

Apple's head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, comes from a background in luxury retailers and likely isn't pushing a strategy of heavy discounting. In its last sale, Apple offered discounts on its dongles and computer monitors — a reaction to consumers who were upset about the lack of port options on the new MacBook.

Regular discounts have become a staple of other retailers like department stores whose customers have shown they won't buy unless something is marked down. This Apple sale could be the start of a new retail strategy — or Apple could just have some older Beats it needs to get rid of.

Know anything about the Apple retail shakeup? Email the author at


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