Despite Apple deal, Beats updates Android app, plans on using Samsung shill LeBron James in ads

By , Jun 13, 2014

LeBron James (Beats headphones 001)

Looks like Tim Cook wasn’t joking when he told The Financial Times Apple would keep alive Beats Music apps for Android and Windows Phone platforms. Keep in mind that Cook made that promise after Apple snapped up Beats’ streaming-music service, headphones, brand and talent in a $3 billion transaction.

Indeed, Beats has now issued an update to its Android client, the first refresh post-acquisition. But that’s not all: it seems Beats will continue to feature Samsung endorser and Miami Heat cager LeBron James in future advertising…

A report earlier this week by ESPN claimed that LeBron is poised to take home a cool $30+ million in cash and stock after Apple announced buying Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion.

The sum, by some estimates, files as the biggest equity cash payout in sports history for a pro athlete.

The basketball superstar claims the sum based on a 2008 deal to promote Beats headphones in exchange for an ownership stake in the firm.

Moreover, Beats confirmed last week plans to continue using the Miami Heat sensation in future advertising for the brand. LeBron, as you know, is a Samsung shill, so it will be interesting seeing how all of this unfolds and whether Apple might object to this decision.

I guess not, judging by Tim Cook’s tweet promoting Beats’ World Cup television ad for the Solo2 and Studio headphones, titled “The Game Before the Game”. In addition to Beats headphones, the five-minute commercial prominently features Apple’s iPhone 5s and stars a number of athletes, including Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. and LeBron James.

At any rate, it’s kinda reassuring knowing Cook is cool, for the time being, with LeBron promoting Beats – in spite of the player’s appearance in Samsung’s “The Next Big Thing” Super Bowl ad.

On the other hand, things could change as soon as Apple closes the Beats buy – pending regulatory approval – in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September.

Making things even more interesting, LeBron can be seen pushing Beats’ new $149.95 Powerbeats 2 Bluetooth headphones, their first pair of wireless earphones.

Billed as “workout headphones inspired by LeBron James,” the Powerbeats 2 feature Beats’ signature sound, offer a rechargeable battery for six hours of playback and sport flexible earhooks for a more secure fit.

Beats Powerbeats (image 001)

“After years of breaking earbuds during his workouts, LeBron James teamed up with Dr. Dre in creating Powerbeats earphones,” reads the Beats website.

“Music is one of my main motivations when I work out, and I know others can relate because music takes people to a different place that inspires more energy and focus,” James told PCMag.

As for Beats Music, despite the service now essentially an Apple product, the Android client (pictured below) last night received its first refresh post-acquisition.

Beats Music 1.1 for Android (screenshot 003)Beats Music 1.1 for Android (screenshot 002)Beats Music 1.1 for Android (screenshot 001)

Beats Music for Android version 1.1, available on the Google Play Store now, adds new features like improved playback, landscape mode, refined Just For You recommendations, the ability to save offline downloads to an external SD card or between an SD card and internal device storage and more.

Maybe all of this is part of Apple’s newly found openness, first signaled by WWDC news of custom iOS 8keyboards, App Extensions, third-party image and video filters in the stock Photos app and what not?

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  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Maybe all of this is part of Apple’s newly found openness, first signaled by WWDC news of custom iOS 8keyboards, App Extensions, third-party image and video filters in the stock Photos app and what not?

    I think the logical reason to updating the other apps would be that Apple wants to retain the Beats userbase. It isn’t exactly the largest userbase in the world and is limited to the US so losing Windows Phone or Android users could have a huge impact on them…

  • Eikast

    I really tried to like Beats Music. When it launched in January I avoided it until February. I gave it a good month and a half but there were still silly bugs such as playlists getting corrupted etc. After Apple purchased Beats I noticed that they extended a free trial so I logged onto it on my HTC One M8 and enjoyed it for about a good week or so. I got into the beta to test 1.1 which had the SD card support. I was thinking about switching from Spotify ($5 a month due to student discount). Then all of a sudden I get a notification that my subscription ran out. Okay then, time to resubscribe. The app forwards me to their website, I log in and only see an option for the $99 a year no $9.99 a month option. I decide okay, I’ll give it a good year. I try to subscribe then it says payment failed, please change payment information. I tried 3 different credit cards (all working fine) and guess what? Nothing. So I delete the App resubscribe to Spotify for $5 a month and I’m happy again. And I lived happily ever after. The end.

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    • Bob

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  • Gus Me

    Samsung shill? Please explain why you’d use that as a description of Lebron James. Title dissuaded me from even reading any further.