In the midst of Apple acquisition, Beats tries to solidify its high end (sound) rep with new Solo2 cans

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We’re less than 24 hours removed from Apple announcing its acquisition of Beats and the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine headphone empire has already announced a new product.

The Beats Solo2 headphones are a follow-up to the massively popular Solo model that sold nearly four units every minute last year. It seems that Beats has addressed one of the biggest criticisms of previous models. Some said they were too bass-heavy which resulted in what some critics called “poorly-mixed hip-hop sound”.

The Solo2 headphone has a more dynamic, wider range of sound, with a clarity that will bring you closer to what the artist intended, whether you’re into hip-hop, heavy metal, jazz, electronic, or country.

These new cans sport a nearly identical design, while some tweaks have been made to increase overall comfort.

…the frame of the headphone has been curved like never before, giving the Solo2 a custom-fit feeling. The earcups have been ergonomically angled to complete this natural fit, with pivots for optimal comfort and sound delivery. Finally, the earcups’ premium material helps dissipate heat and minimize sound leakage.

Apple obviously had no impact on this product release since the deal isn’t expected to be finalized until the company’s fiscal Q4 of this year, but it’s interesting to see Beats trying to shake of some its old stigmas to appeal to audiophiles as well as music listeners who put bass and fashion first.

The Solo2 headphones are now available for preorder for $199.95 in a range of colors from Best Buy, beatsbydre.com, and are expected to hit other authorized retailers late this week… 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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Declining iTunes sales underline need for Apple to launch a subscription music service

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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

Beats acquisition may be part of a new focus on music quality, suggests Japanese blog

headphones

Following the presumed acquisition of Beats, Apple plans to up its music game with support for high-resolution audio files in a revamped Music app in iOS 8, and to offer a higher-quality version of its In-Ear Headphones, reports Japanese blog Macotakara

The source of the high-res audio rumor appears somewhat circumstantial, linked to a Warner Music post about the forthcoming release of a ‘Super Deluxe’ version of three remastered early Led Zeppelin albums in 96kHz/24-bit form – a resolution the current iOS Music app cannot play. It is, however, consistent with a similar earlier rumor regarding iTunes support for higher-quality audio …  Read more

Apple and Beats not such strange bedfellows, argues Bloomberg

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Steve Jobs and Jimmy Iovine in 2008 (Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage via Getty Images)

A Bloomberg analysis of the presumed acquisition of Beats Electronics by Apple says that while the two companies may have very different cultures, the partnership is not so strange as it might first appear.

“These aren’t strange bedfellows at all,” said Peter Csathy, chief executive officer of entertainment law firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures. “Steve Jobs really drove the relationship with the music industry. The executives at Apple and Beats know each other very well, and there’s a comfort level there” …

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