Review: Beats Studio Wireless headphones (and what Apple can improve)

A few weeks before initial reports that Apple was planning to acquire Beats Electronics, I started AT&T’s three month trial of the Beats Music subscription streaming service.. Given that generous window of time, I felt more comfortable investing my time than I would with a one or two week trial. When news broke that Apple was in final talks to purchase Beats, I was caught off guard and immediately concerned that the subscription service that I was starting to really like would change under Apple’s watch. Since the deal has been made official, Apple has said that Beats Music will continue as it is (across multiple platforms even) as will the headphones line (Beats branded, not Apple branded) for now.

Because I was rather surprised by the appeal of Beats Music and Apple is now endorsing the headphones more than ever (even if only really for their massive profit margins), I got really curious Friday afternoon to try out a pair of Beats headphones first hand so I did just that. I’ve been using the Beats Studio Wireless headphones (Amazon) just about all waking hour of this weekend, and below you can read my thoughts on one of the products included in Apple’s biggest acquisition to date. Read more

Wall Street unimpressed by Beats acquisition: “Not what we want to see”

Wall Street

Judging by a roundup in The Wall Street Journal, analysts and investors appear not to share the enthusiasm for Beats acquisition express by Tim Cook and Eddy Cue. While Cook said he was “excited […] about this new chapter in our history” and Cue believed that “combining the two companies will help [music] grow again,” Wall Street is more skeptical.

“To see this kind of money spent for a company that gets most of its revenue from hardware business is not what we want to see,” said Dan Niles, chief investment officer of hedge fund AlphaOne Capital Partners …

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Cue praises Beats curated playlists and headphones; Iovine disses Apple’s EarPods

Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference(Image via Re/code)

It’s typical in any acquisition for both parties to sing the praises of their new partner, and Eddy Cue was certainly playing his part at Re/code’s Code Conference, saying that Beats’ curated playlists were a key strength and would help music grow again. As Mark Gurman reported in his live blog coverage at Code Conference:

Cue said Apple bought Beats because “music is dying. It hasn’t been growing.” He said combining the two companies will help it grow again […]

Cue said what makes Beats good is that it provides users with curated playlists.

He said: “When you bring what Beats has got and what we’ve got it’s not two plus two is four. It’s something much more than that” …

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HP planning ‘aggressive line-up’ of new Beats Audio products through 2015 as Beats’ design firm replaced by Apple

hp-envy-15-beats_3

With Apple officially announcing its plans to acquire Beats Electronics for $3 billion, HP’s partnership with Beats will soon expire and new products with the Beats Audio technology and branding will become a thing of the past. HP tells CNET that it will continue to sell hardware marketed with Beats Audio through the end of next year and it has the rights to make new Beats Audio products this year:

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Declining iTunes sales underline need for Apple to launch a subscription music service

itunes

Declining iTunes sales highlighted by Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty and reported by Fortune appear to underline the need for Apple to move beyond sales of music downloads and into the subscription music business. iTunes sales are down 24 percent year-on-year.

While the slack is being picked up by app sales – a trend previously noted by Asymco’s Horace Dediu – that falling blue line reflects the wider shift in consumer behaviour from purchasing downloads to subscribing to streaming services noted last year by Billboard magazine …  Read more

MOG founder and former Beats Music CEO suing Beats for $20 million ahead of expected Apple buy

Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine And Luke Wood Launch The Beats By Dr. Dre Pill At The Beats Store In Soho, NY

Luke Wood, Jimmy Iovine, & Dr. Dre

Just as Apple is expected to close on a deal with Beats Electronics as soon as next week, a new report from The Wrap shares that David Hyman, the founder of music service MOG which Beats purchased, is suing the headphones and streaming music company for at least $20 million plus interest.

The suit claims that, under an incentive plan adopted during Hyman’s tenure, he would be entitled to compensation including 2.5 percent of the company’s “currently outstanding equity interests,” with 1 percent due on the first anniversary of Hyman’s date of employment, and subsequent installments due in subsequent months. The suit also claims that he was promised a grant of 25 percent of the company’s outstanding equity interests following adoption of the incentive plan if the company achieved a fair market value of $500 million or more.

Hyman served as founder and CEO of the MOG music service for seven years until Beats Electronics purchased it for $14 million in May 2012. Hyman stayed on to head the music service that is now Beats Music where he served as CEO for just seven months.

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