Link: Does Apple Still Care About Beats? ☍

Shared on September 11, 2018

Micah Singleton for The Verge:

Apple has its eyes set on the high-end audio market to compete against the likes of Audio-Technica, Bose, and a rapidly improving headphone ecosystem. But neglecting the team that has been able to sell slightly above-average headphones at a breakneck pace for nearly a decade doesn’t seem like a smart business move for either party. If you are the official headphone company for United States Basketball, it seems wise to continue releasing new headphones. And if you are Apple — and your history with headphones and speakers has precisely one win, despite many attempts — you should lean on the company you own that hasn’t missed yet.

The other day I was watching both the WNBA Western Conference Finals Semifinals and a US Women’s National Team soccer game with a friend and remarked that when ESPN usually shows players arriving during pregame coverage, many were wearing AirPods, a spot typically reserved for some iteration of Beats Solos. This was also the case with the NBA playoffs last spring, and it sort of makes sense. While many Beats products have the flashy, cool aspect, most of the typical larger models are bulky and AirPods are convenient and sound good enough.

I don’t think Apple is going to abandon Beats, especially since this NBA/WNBA/G-League/USA Basketball deal just got inked (replacing Samsung’s JBL brand). I think there needs to be some additional offerings, maybe even a Beats-ified set of AirPods. A smaller, HomePod-style device with Beats branding would also be a nice addition to the lineup. I think Beats being the exciting brand with opinionated audio characteristics, while Apple sticks with their minimalist, generally realistic sound could be a nice balance.

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