Opinion: What is Apple’s thinking in spending $3.2B on buying Beats?

beats

Apple’s apparent purchase of Beats took everyone by surprise. I must confess that my immediate reaction was to be slightly appalled. As someone whose audio tastes run more to B&O and B+W, I’ve always viewed Beats headphones as over-bassed, over-priced fashion items. But then my tastes in music admittedly differ somewhat from those of the typical Beats customer.

Even so, it’s still a little baffling at first glance. Tim Cook himself said a year ago that Apple asks two questions when considering an acquisition:

Would it help us make a great product, and would the culture fit at Apple?

My immediate answer to both would be “no,” so why would Apple spend $3.2B on a headphone manufacturer with a small sideline streaming music service … ?  Read more

Apple meeting with UK ad agencies in preparation for iTunes Radio rollout

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Apple appears to be readying for an UK iTunes Radio launch in the near future. As indicated by this tweet, Apple’s director of iAd Paul Wright has recently been visiting media marketing agencies to discuss iAd in relation to iTunes Radio.

Bloomberg said that Apple was planning to launch in the UK in ‘early 2014′ last October, but so far this has not happened several months into 2014. Although many people have seen iTunes Radio sporadically appear on their devices in recent months, it is has only officially expanded to Australia beyond the US launch alongside iOS 7.

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As rumors point to major iTunes renovations, Apple goes on hiring spree

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Amidst a flurry of reports and speculation regarding Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Radio strategy in the past few weeks, Apple has begun posting job listings indicating they are gearing up for major improvements to iTunes.

Four listings on Apple’s Jobs page show they are interested in hiring iTunes Software Engineers, a Senior Software Engineer for iTunes Radio, and an iTunes Recommendations Platform Software Engineer. From the descriptions:

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Digitimes: iWatch circuit board samples being delivered to Apple in preparation for September reveal

Concept: jivaldi.com

Concept: jivaldi.com

On Tuesday we reported that Apple was planning to reveal its entry into the wearable market in August or September. Now a new Digitimes report corroborates that timeframe. According to the new report, three different firms have supplied Apple with samples of flexible circuit boards that will be integrated into the iWatch for a fall release.

The companies involved are Flexium Interconnect, Career Technology, and Zhen Ding Technology Holding, according to Digitimes. Zhen Ding Technology Holding is currently Apple’s largest supplier of such parts and is reportedly planning to increase production in order to meet increased demand for iPhone and iPad circuitry.

As with all Digitimes reports, it’s probably best to take this with a grain of salt given their less-than-stellar track record. Read more

NPR added to iTunes Radio as the first news streaming service

itunes-radio

Now this is interesting (if you like talk radio): Recode is reporting that iTunes Radio is slated to pick up streaming news today through a partnership with NPR.

NPR’s channel, which should be live today, will offer a free stream, 24 hours a day, which mixes live news with segments from pre-recorded shows like “All Things Considered” and “The Diane Rehm Show.” NPR officials say that within weeks, some of the broadcaster’s local stations should begin offering their own channels, with a similar mix of live and taped news.

You can add the new station to your iTunes Radio lineup below:

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Report: Apple considering iTunes Store for Android & on-demand streaming service

iTunes Radio

According to a new report from Billboard, Apple is considering launching an iTunes Store app on the Android platform to combat declining music sales on the digital platform. The report also says that Apple execs are in talks with high level label executives to discuss debuting an on-demand streaming service.

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said.

The move to an on-demand streaming service could transform iTunes Radio from the Pandora-like radio model to the more robust on-demand model used by Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and others. Read more