Is Apple about to buy Beats?

apple to buy beats

I love Apple gear. For the last 3 decades, I have at some point become besotted with the majority of their offerings, from the Mac Plus, the Quadra 700, pretty much every laptop, iMac (yes even the flat panel on the arm one), and mobile device they’ve ever made. Their excellence in making industrial design beautiful and desirable is without question, as is their proven ability to keep leading where others follow. You may choose to disagree, but on this point I cannot be argued with, nor will I rise to baiting. So when I read that Apple are allegedly in the final stages of negotiating a $3.2 billion deal to acquire Beats, I’m left wondering why Apple would need to do such a thing.

Now let’s get this straight right from the start — the brand perception of Beats from the majority of the DJ masses is in the toilet. They are blanketly accused of being utter trash, even from people who haven’t ever bothered to pick them up and try them out for themselves — it’s just easier to knee jerk everyone else’s opinion as their own.

But I have a lot of love for Beats, but let’s be even more clear on this point — when I’m talking about Beats, I mean Beats Pro — not the Monster/Beats collab of old or the regular consumer fodder. That said, the new wireless Studio 2s are nothing short of excellent, and the Beats Pill bluetooth speaker is outstanding.


So let’s play this scenario out a little. Apple doesn’t buy companies – it buys technology to put inside Apple products to do things better than they do already, or to stop the march of potential competitors. But I struggle with the idea that Apple can’t design headphones so bloody aspirational and lovely that they’ve just figured it would be easier to snap up the next best thing. Think what you like about Beats, but with some cosmetic tweaks and changes to packaging, the existing range is pretty much what Apple would most probably design anyway. The aforementioned Studio 2s in particular would look very much at home with an Apple logo in place of the Beats one. Ultimately, if Tim Cook asked Jony Ive to design headphones, and Beats are more or less where he would create, given the $130 billion they have in the bank, it makes sense to snap them up and Apple-ize them in double-quick time.

There is also another part of this equation to consider. Apple dominance in online music is clear, but where they are weak is with streaming services. iTunes Radio hasn’t really set the world on fire, but after just a short space of time Beats Music is already turning a few heads. This does rather make this the cherry on top of the deal, but most certainly not the main dish.

Like myself, the tech media is agog with pretty much the same info and spin on this story. We know people at Apple and Beats, but I don’t expect that they’ll be telling us anything that we could publish. We’ll just have to wait for further news, if any even exists. Remember when Apple were buying Valve and Tesla? Didn’t happen, and this could be much the same too.


DJs – can you imagine if say the Beats brand disappeared and the injection of Apple juice from a quality and ID perspective meant that the Beats Mixrs became the Apple Mixrs? How would you feel about them then?

  • Jared Helfer

    If they do buy Beats I fully expect everyone to suddenly be yelling about how awesome their headphones are and how everything else is just terrible because Apple.

  • Thilo Be Cker

    “and the Beats Pill bluetooth speaker is outstanding”
    I’m sorry, but you must be taking the piss here.
    The speaker is extremely expensive (€199 in Ireland) and, in my opinion, does not sound good! There are alternatives like the Minirig, which sound a lot better, costs half the price, has a much (60 hours) better battery life and can also be daisy chained to a sub and other speakers!

    I usually like the DJworx articles, but I really disagree with this article, endorsing overpriced products.

    • What can I say? I really like it. It’s my first and only experience of bluetooth speakers, and I like what I find. It was a gift, so I’ve had no need to dig deeper into this market.

    • LoopCat

      It’s funny how peoples opinions on gear can be so different. One thing I will say about the beats headphones I have tried is the ear pads are comfy as hell they’re like big cushions.

    • Gavin Varitech

      Agreed on the Pill. It does not sound great in general, does not sound good for $200, and does not sound as good a some of its $40 competitors out there (Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Angle for example).

  • I like Apple.
    The article explains why. Plus I really like their operating systems OS X and iOS.
    I dislike Beats.
    I tried the Solo, Mixr, and Studio. While the latter sounds ok, the other two are uncomfy and the sound is pure crap.
    They’re clearly made for the subwoofer-in-the-trunk-generation who hate their ears.

    But I do agree that if Apple had designed headphones, they would’ve been came up with a design like the one of Beats.

  • happydan

    I really don’t think that if Apple had made headphones, they’d even give a second thought to the DJ community. Consumer/prosumer all the way.

  • Yeah but am I bovvered though?

    Look at my face. Do I look bovvered?

    I ain’t bovvered!

  • Rock Well

    Whatever the outcome, I predict that I will keep buying my laptops from Apple and my headphones from Sennheiser.

  • Oddie O’Phyle

    bah hahaha… apple is a company on the decline, their build is steadily getting worse. the fact that they are looking at Beats is a joke, they produce mediocre products at best.

    sorry for the trash talk, but i bought a new laptop running win8.1 this week… i n the process of upgrading with an mSATA drive for a total of 64Gb SSD for OS aand a whopping 1Tb for storage and bumping the rAM for 12Gb to 16Gb. try that with a MBP. my over all latency in traktor is now 6.9 ms. Mac is starting to drop the ball their build. soldering RAM to the board may make for a slimmer model, but upgrades and repairs are a nightmare.
    as for Beats… not a fan of over priced, mediocre gear. don’t buy in to the media hype and advertising campaigns, do some research and grab a good pair of headphone like AKG K181 or Sennheiser HD-25.

    it’s just my opinion… but i will never own either product, although i do enjoy speed of core audio. Mac OS is the one savings grace that apple has left.

    • Mike

      I completely agree with this. I bought a MacBook Pro in early 2011, and now I have a giant paperweight because the logicboard crapped out one day after the extended three year warranty I purchased expired. Bad luck? Yes. Bad product. Without a doubt. I will never buy another Apple product again. Much like Oddie I’m now running a pimped out windows 8.1 desktop, and couldn’t be happier knowing that if a part fails, I can easily replace it at a fraction of the cost. F$^K I hate Apple so much, everytime I think about what happened I still get so mad. What shitty products.

    • MK

      A few of years ago I would have disagreed with you. It used to be If you buy a top of the line MBP when it first comes out, it was the fastest out there. There was definitely a price premium, but it was still fast AND upgradeable. I bought a 2011 13″ MBP that at the time had the fastest dual core i7 mobile processor available. I put in 16GB of RAM, removed the optical drive, dropped in dual hybrid 500GB drives, booting with Windows 7 (for work) on one drive and Mac OS (for DJing) on the other drive. It was the fastest Windows machine I had ever owned (at the time).

      3 years later, with the Retina MBPs, all of that is gone now. Soldered RAM? No more first release of Intel processors on Mac? Apparently it is what consumers think they want, and if consumers are willing to pay that much for it… meh.

      • Oddie O’Phyle

        a few years ago i would have disagreed with the statement of “Mac makes inferior hardware” too. time will be the deciding factor, people will take notice when their volatile memory becomes unstable due to use or when memory prerequisites for the programs they use need more resources for a new kernal or update. Net Eng too… would rather build a Mac and vanilla kernal the OSX.

  • will mr bach be buying an aventador with his stock options? get a right side skyline gtr instead

  • MK

    I know it is easy for techies to hate on Apple, but we’re not Apple’s core demographic, are we? Most Apple products work great for what consumers want, but are way overpriced. The exception being the Mac Pro which is great for creative professionals… and still way overpriced.

    Beats will fit right in. Most Beats sound decent… but are way overpriced. I haven’t tried the Studio 2s, but I know for a fact they are way overpriced because that is Beats’ business model (just like Apple). Build an incoherently loyal fan base to buy your overpriced products.

    • Gavin Varitech


    • Envee

      So your saying if you spent years designing a product that every one loved and was buying, you would only want to make little or no profit from it?? Obviously a plastic acer laptop with the same specs as a aluminium/glass MacBook Pro is going to cheaper… Lol

      • MK

        I’m not faulting Apple for making profits on their products. More power to them. I am, however, mad at them for making their laptops disposable now (not upgradeable). No more upgradeable MacBook Pros because it was replaced by the Retina series with soldered RAM. Imagine if we had to replace our cars every 2 years with a brand new one because they were no longer repairable.

        I DOOOOOO love my MacBook Pro, it is my main DJ machine, but I’m seriously considering going back to Windows when this one dies or can no longer keep up.

        I work with computers at a university (Mac & Windows), so I understand that there is a price premium for Apple products. I was very happy at the time I bought my current Mac with that trade-off because it meant less headaches when DJing with Serato. But I no longer think the price premium is worth it if it isn’t upgradeable.

        I recently looked at getting a new MBP, but decided to put in $200 to upgrading what I currently have – maxing out my RAM and bigger/faster hard drives. I am hoping it gets me 2 more years and maybe Apple will come to their senses with it by then. If not, I’m going back to Windows.

  • Gavin Varitech

    A match made in heaven! Two MARKETING companies that create “value” in the mind of consumers by grossly overcharging what their product is worth. Something that obviously works on many people with the right messaging behind it.

    Don’t get it twisted, Apple and Beats are primarily marketing companies in the tech industry, not the other way around.

  • John Shersby

    My telephone handset with a jack plug on the end will outlive them all…

  • The_KLH

    … And the internet thinks about it and says “meh.”

  • MK

    I’ve been hearing that they are buying Beats to get more leverage in the Music business – Beats IS run by music industry insiders who are marketing geniuses. Apple is buying talent, not technology.

  • Elliot Marx

    Apple spends more money on legal fees than it does on R&D

  • CLD

    I think Apple is buying more than just mediocre headphones when they actually acquire Beats. Besides getting the music-marketing expertise of industry-insiders, they would also get hold of Beat’s online music streaming-platform. Apple currently sells music via iTunes but until now they have nothing to come up with against Spotify and the likes, who have already taken away quite a bit of Apple’s market-share as streaming becomes more and more important nowadays.

    In my opinion, the Beats Music portal is indeed the main dish in this possible deal. This might not appear evident right now, but as music streaming gains momentum I can see the purchase of Beats Music as a way to keep consumers hooked to Apple over the long term.

  • People keep using the world overpriced. So why do both brands have insane sale figures? To me that translates to “priced just right”.

    • Thilo Be Cker

      To me that translates to good marketing and ignorant brand focused people.
      I think 90% of the people who own beats headphones wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between a 128kbit/s mp3 and a wav file. They just buy the headphone to be “cool”, and because the advertizement (and the price) made them think they are better than they actually are!

    • maybe in the short term, where you get someone to buy from you once, but i bet beats doesn’t get many return customers. in the same way, apple is losing many of its laptop customers to chromebooks.
      even the old timers in this country are grasping that the old adage “you get what you pay for” is no longer true. in this world, you get what you research. this acquisition may well mark a large pendulum swing in the fortune of apple. someone else here said it, “dying company” having a macbook these days is like having a land line phone.

    • Jared Helfer

      What surprises me the most is that Apple is perceived as a dying company. I mean, yeah, they aren’t exactly innovating in comparison to the release of the iPhone and the iPad, and the Mac Pro wasn’t received with unending fanfare. But seriously, they are sitting on more money than every other technology company and this purchase will just increase that stat, I’m sure.

      And if they are purchasing the streaming service that’s where the news really is, not the headphones. The headphone tech will probably, in my opinion, be cannibalized and Apple will release iBeats or something. The streaming service, though, is probably going to be integrated directly into iTunes to create a product that Spotify and its ilk can’t compete with.

      And then wait to see it get integrated directly into Traktor.

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      apple just isn’t targeting the audio community any more. the lack of usb ports, the lack of upgrading and the lack of build quality the the past 3 years means that it is being targeted at the consumer market. not being able to upgrade it and the lack of build quality gives it less of a lifespan than it’s previous models. people bought mac books for a base of quality that is no longer there. the days of buying apple and not having to worry about it for 5 years are gone. it’s not a dying company… yet. apple thinks that we should still pay a premium for quality that no longer exists.

    • Angling-setups-is-a-must

      It’s a whities thing. Whenever they can up their game, being from the 1st world, they jump right to it. It was like this when Hip-Hop became hip and nowadays it’s the same with hip-pop and DJ-ing (Bé and Jigga/Kanye and KK/Katie Perry and DJ Diplo). Everybody wants to be young again and/or remain young. And through these pop-cultures they get the desired result. Why be an real activist, when you can purchase.

    • Gavin Varitech

      Copied from my post below….

      “A match made in heaven! Two MARKETING companies that create “value” in
      the mind of consumers by grossly overcharging what their product is
      worth. Something that obviously works on many people with the right
      messaging behind it.”

      • But “worth” is a personal opinion though. Yes, you can break down a product into components and come up with a parts list. But the value of a product is way more than the physical cost. I used Apple devices because they work reliably, quickly, and in a way that I prefer. For this, I’m prepared to pay more because to me they are worth what I get.

        And let’s be honest – the price gap between Apple and its competitors is less than ever.

  • Scott Frost

    I’ve never liked beats headphones. They are overpriced because of the name not because of the build quality. And I’d like to see the numbers showing apple is losing to chrome books.

  • audio matters

    Let em have it. I couldnt care less. Beats is a design focuser brand anr their headphones compared Sennheiser Beyerdynamic and Ultrasound just sound like fucked up mangled sounds coming out of the garbage can. I bought an HP notebook 2 years ago, beats was on by default promissing “better” soujd. When I disabled it I realized the hights ere pushed all the way up and basd all the way down when running without beats. Thats hoe they enhanche things… By falsifying the comparison

  • DJ STU-C

    isn’t it the streaming service that Dre operates thats the reason apple are/have bought his company.. they don’t care about cheesy headphones they care about the millions of Dollars a monthly subscription music service is worth

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