Apple’s Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine discuss the Beats acquisition shortly after the announcement last year.
The rumor mill continues to churn about what the hell Apple is going to do with Beats Music. It’s been a year since Apple paid $3 billion to acquire the upstart music service and headphone maker, but we are no closer to understanding why Cupertino laid out the cash.
When Apple purchased Beats Music and Beats Electronics, it did so with a splash it generally reserves for the unveiling of a game-changing product like the Apple Watch. Since then, it’s basically been crickets.
It is clear Apple has a way to go to compete in the streaming music game against Spotify, Pandora and the other services scrambling to get a piece of the music industry pie. But what form will Apple’s next music play take?
Not content with only Apple Watch pre-orders and a slim new MacBook, Apple has quietly classed up the Beats Solo 2 wireless headphone line with some fairly familiar colors: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray.
You know it’s an Apple joint when Space Gray shows up.
It was Philips that managed to beat, err, Beats to the first Lightning headphones last year, and at CES the company has taken it to the next level: announcing a new $299 pair that also offers noise cancellation.
Called the Fidelio NC1L, the battery-free headphones plug straight into iOS devices using the Lightning connector, and boast their own integrated 24-bit digital-to-analog converter rather than the one Apple builds into its devices.
Monster is looking for its cut of the Beats acquisition. Photo: Beats
Monster Inc, the company that help co-design the original Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, is suing Beats Electronics along with cofounders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for allegedly stealing its headphone technology.
The company, known for its overpriced audio cables, filed a lawsuit this week in San Mateo California, claiming Beats and its founders screwed the it out of millions of dollars before the company was sold to Apple last year for $3 billion. According to court documents obtained by USA Today, Monster says Beats concealed its role in the designing and engineering the headphone line, as well as its part in the manufacturing, distributions and selling of the headphones.
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones sound as sexy as they look. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
It’s ludicrous but true: How headphones look can be nearly as important as how they sound. Luckily for anybody who slides a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P7s over their ears, these high-end headphones do double duty. They will bamboozle your ears as well as your eyes.
With a stylish design and sturdy construction of gleaming metal and luxurious sheepskin leather, these aren’t a pair of big, cartoon-like plastic puffballs for your head. The P7s whisper quiet refinement rather than screaming “look at me.” If Beats Electronics’ brightly colored models are like those candy-colored iMac G3s from the ’90s, the P7s are like this year’s stunning iMac with Retina 5K display.
But really, looks are only skin deep. When it comes to music at its most intimate — when the sounds are piped straight from the source and directly penetrate your ear canals — it’s the quality of the audio that matters most.
Beats will be serviced by Genius Bars starting on Tuesday. Photo: Beats
Ever since Apple bought Beats for $3 billion back in May, Cupertino has slowly but surely been integrating the headphone maker’s products and services into the official Apple portfolio. It’s added Beats Music to the Apple TV, officially listed it as an Apple app on the App Store, and rolled out a Beats by Dre section at Apple Stores.
Now it looks like Beats by Dre headphones will officially be an Apple product in the biggest way that counts: You’ll soon be able to get them repaired or replaced at your local Genius Bar.
The Beats Solo2 headphones are now wireless. Photo: Beats
Beats Electronics today announced it’s releasing its first new headphones since officially Apple-owned company earlier this year. The new headphones are an updated version of the Solo2 headphones, that brings wireless capabilities to the popular headphones, so you’re no longer tethered to your iPhone when kicking out the jams.