Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine talk Beats deal and future of Apple


Apple's Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine sit in Walt Mossberg's famous red chairs to dish on Apple's Beats acquisition.
Eddy Cue and Beats Jimmy Iovine sat in Walt's famous red chairs to dish on the Beats acquisition
Photo: Pete Mall/Re/code

Now that Apple’s acquisition of Beats has finally been made official, Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine took the stage at the the inaugural Code Conference tonight to give a peak behind the scenes of deal, as well as glimpse at what’s to come in 2014 – including the best product pipeline the company has seen in 25 years.

The interview comes as Apple is preparing for its annual developer’s conference in San Francisco next week where it’s expected to announce new versions of iOS and OS X, and while will have to wait to see if any hardware will come out as well, Eddy Cue is already hard at work hyping Apple’s upcoming products.

Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg led the conversation with Eddy Cue starting things off by parroting Tim Cook’s statements that Apple acquired Beats for three reasons: Talent, Headphones, and a Music Subscription Service, before revealing these eight new tidbits on the deal as well as the future of Apple:

Apple’s 2014 product line is going to be incredible.

“Later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple” boasted Eddy.

The Beats deal took 10 years to happen

“This isn’t something that just happened over night,” said Cue. “Jimmy and I have talked about working together for a decade.”

Beats chose Apple because it gets culture.

“We met the guys at Apple. They get it. When I met Eddy and Steve, in 2003, 2005, I came back and said ‘these guys get it,'” recalled Iovine, who admitted the HTC/Beats partnership was a culture clash.

“They respect what we do. They respect copyright. They respect the entire food chain. We built Beats. We built Beats Music, and we got lucky.”

Eddy Cue thinks TV sucks

“The reason there’s so much interest in TV in general is that the TV experience sucks. All we have today is glorified DVRs,” Cue ranted. “TV is a hard problem to solve. No global standards, lots of rights issues. It’s a complicated landscape to solve.”

Apple bought Beats because the album is dying:

“The album is going away,” Jimmy said. “Music is made in bite-sized pieces. But you need an hour’s worth of music. These services (Spotify, Rdio, etc.) are based on algorithms, and algorithms can’t do the job alone.”

“This is the new album. To create a listening experience that goes 30 minutes, 45 minutes that moves people? That will work.”

Apple didn’t buy Beats to try to be cool:

“I don’t think you can buy cool. I think you just have to make the best products,” claimed Cue. “But Beats is really cool. We make great products, and we’re going to make great products together. I don’t know what buying cool means.”

Beats already has 250k subscribers

“We have 250,000 subscribers,” claimed Iovine. “From what I understand in the tech business, you get to try something out for awhile before you figure out if it works. So Apple is going to help us. We don’t know the exact model yet, but we need to put steroids into this thing.”

Jimmy Iovine hates Jony Ive’s EarPods

“They make those to make sure the machine works.” You listen to Apocalypse Now, and the helicopter sounds like a mosquito,” replied Jimmy after Mossberg noted Apple already makes earphones.

“It’s not their responsibility to make good headphones,” concluded Iovine. “They make phones.”

The full video of Iovine and Cue’s interview will be available later in the week, but until then you can catch a full rundown of the event on the Recode Liveblog.


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