Continuing its high-level executive hiring spree, Apple has recruited Dolby Executive Vice President Mike Rockwell to become an executive in its hardware division, 9to5Mac has learned. According to a source, Rockwell has likely been hired to bolster the audio and display performance of future Apple products, which could include anything from next-generation Apple monitors to professional audio/video editing tools to speakers. Rockwell’s LinkedIn profile confirms he joined Apple in February but does not specify his role.
Apple is in the process of winding down Beats Electronics’ outsourced phone support ties and moving technical support completely in-house via AppleCare, according to sources. Beats Electronics phone support is currently split between Apple and Sitel, a customer support outsourcing firm, and Apple is aiming to completely end that relationship as soon as March. Apple cut several Beats jobs in July following the acquisition. Sitel employees have confirmed that they will be moved to new technical support positions for other companies, and AppleCare employees similarly confirmed that Beats support will soon be handled completely internally. Apple acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music in May 2014 for $3 billion, and sales transitioned to the Apple Online Store in August. Apple Store Genius Bars began servicing Beats products late last year.
Beats Electronics has definitely faced its share of lawsuits after being acquired by Apple, but today yet another company has announced that it’ll be taking the electronics maker to court. Rival Monster has filed a claim against Beats that alleges the latter stole its headphone tech.
The original Beats headphones were designed in conjunction with Monster, but Monster CEO Noel Lee says that Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre took what they learned from his company—and the technology that powered the headphones—then simply slapped Dre’s name on it.
You can see the full complaint below:
Apple is looking to hire a new Head of Social Media and Content that will lead and expand on its current social media strategy. The job will be based out of Culver City, which could hint at Apple’s plans to align its overall social media strategy closer with its recently acquired Beats Electronics division which is located there. The West LA office is also in close proximity to its lead global Ad/Marketing agency Media Arts Lab. Read more
Apple is making a big push with gift cards for the holidays with the most notable change being gift cards for its retail stores arriving through third-party retailers, according to sources. The company already sold iTunes/App Store gift certificates through a number of retail parters, but it has just recently started selling its Apple Store gift cards outside its own channels as well. Apple Retail will also make changes to repair procedures tomorrow including the introduction of in-store repairs for Beats products. Read more
Apple and its Beats by Dre group seem to be close to announcing a new pair of headphones: a Bluetooth version of their popular Solo2 headphones. Earlier this year, Beats launched the Solo2 wired earphones as a cheaper alternative to the Studio cans. Today, a wireless version has been revealed thanks to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) testing department.
As can be seen in the image above from today’s FCC filing, the design of the wireless model is akin to the wired model. The only difference appears to be the Bluetooth connectivity. The documents specify that Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy technology is utilized.
Interestingly, these documents indicate that these headphones are Apple-branded:
Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine responded to a recent fine levied by the NFL against 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for wearing Beats headphones during a post-game interview. Iovine said that he was glad players considered Beats ‘cool’ and that the company had gotten millions of dollars worth of publicity out of the media coverage surrounding the ban and subsequent fine.
Apple has begun pushing the Beats Music streaming service via email to iTunes customers. The emails promote the free-to-download Beats Music app’s “Just For You” and “Tune Your Taste” features and note that Beats is now “part of the Apple family.” Apple finalized its acquisition of both Beats Music and Beats Electronics at the beginning of this month, and Apple has already begun promoting Beats Electronics via a new section on the online store and notable discounts. This email push is the second Apple promotion of the streaming app as the company has already integrated the app into the App Store’s “Apps by Apple” category. Full email below:
A couple weeks following the closing of Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and the Beats Music streaming service, Apple has cut the price of all Beats by Dr. Dre products by 10% in both its physical retail stores and official online store…
Apple has prominently featured its own suite of free apps when iOS users first open the App Store, such as its iLife and iWork apps, for a while. Now that Beats Music and Beats Electronics are officially part of the family, the Beats Music app is now appearing on this ‘Apple Apps’ list as well. Beats Music is currently the last entry in the list, described as a way to ‘listen to music that’s always right for you’.
Tapping ‘Download All’ will install Beats Music alongside Apple’s other apps. Naturally, one way for Apple to significantly increase adoption of the service is to advertise it to every new iOS user.
The view will show up for new iOS devices or by performing a clean restore to a version of iOS 7, on both iPhone and iPad.