Bose sues Beats over noise-cancelling patents

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 25, 2014

As Apple is prepping to shell out $3 billion to buy Beats Music and Beats Electronics’ high-end headphone biz, reports are coming in that audio equipment specialist Bose has gone on the offense and is now taking Beats Electronics to court over its noise-cancelling headphone patents.

Bose alleges its patented tech is used in the Beats Pro noise-cancelling headphones and other products like the Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless.

Furthermore, Bose is now seeking financial damages and a sales ban on some Beats headphones, claiming patent infringement. Bose develops, markets and sells a vast range of loudspeakers, noise-cancelling headsets, automotive sound systems, amplifiers and headphones.

Needless to say, Bose holds a number of patents in this space. Its QuietComfort line of headphones has in particular proven itself popular with consumers who want to get away from outside noise. And just like Beats, Bose gets frequently criticized as some reviewers slam their high-end products for being overpriced and of average quality… Read More

 

Sony’s World Cup sponsorship bars players from wearing Beats in stadiums

By Cody Lee on Jun 18, 2014

Watching this epic Beats ad featuring several high-profile football stars, you would’ve thought that Apple’s newly-acquired headphone line was going to be a staple at this year’s World Cup, but that hasn’t been the case at all. The iconic accessory has been noticeably absent from players’ necks since the tournament began last week.

And apparently Sony is behind the anomaly. The company’s licensing agreement with FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, says that players can’t ‘advertise’ rival hardware at games or media events…

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Beats airs “Jungle” remix of World Cup ad

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 16, 2014

After posting a five-minute World Cup commercial – basically an ode to soccer, its headphones and the iPhone 5sBeats on Monday released a shorter version of the “The Game Before The Game” ad.

Titled “Jay Z + Beats by Dre Jungle Remix”, it features a remix of “Jungle”, a song born out of the collaboration between Jay Z, X Ambassadaros and Jamie N Commons. Check it out after the break and tell us what you think in the comments… Read More

 

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

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2014

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… Read More

 

Subscribe to Beats at a discounted rate: Target now selling Beats Music gift cards at 25% off

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2014

On the heels of its eyebrow-raising $3 billion deal with Apple, the Beats Music subscription service has recently dropped its annual membership from $119.88 to $99 per year, or $9.99 per month, making itself more competitive with Spotify and the like.

If you’d rather not use your credit card (or carrier billing) for recurring payments, the service now allows you to apply promotional codes provided on the physical Beats Music cards, carried exclusively by Target and offered in several denominations.

And conveniently enough, Target is currently offering 25 percent off Beats Music $50 and $25 gift cards, resulting in respective savings of $12.5 and $6.25… Read More

 

WSJ profile describes Dr. Dre as a perfectionist, compares him to Steve Jobs

By Cody Lee on Jun 7, 2014

The Wall Street Journal has written a profile on Beats co-founder Dr. Dre titled “Apple’s New Beat: What Steve Jobs and Dr. Dre have in Common.” That headline may sound blasphemous to die-hard Apple fans, but the comparisons they draw are interesting.

Though Jimmy Iovine has done most of the talking since Apple acquired his Beats Electronics last month, Dr. Dre played an equally important role in the company’s success. He’s a workaholic and a perfectionist, with a disdain for deadlines and marketing research… Read More

 

Beats buy and iTunes Radio limitations blamed on Apple’s ‘arrogance’ and incompetent managers

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 6, 2014

According to two Apple sources familiar with the development of iTunes Radio, current limitations of the free service and the $3 billion acquisition of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s Beats talent, brand, headphone business and streaming service is all the result of the firm’s “arrogance” and shortsightedness of its managers.

Worse, some high-ranked members of Apple’s music teams reportedly didn’t even know that Spotify was an on-demand streaming service and not an Internet radio service akin to Pandora and iTunes Radio… Read More

 

Beats features iPhone 5s in this inspiring World Cup ad

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 5, 2014

Football — or soccer, if you live in the US — has the potential to captivate a nation, perhaps no more than at the World Cup every four years. In just a matter of days, the world’s biggest stars of the sport will be fighting for the ultimate title in front of tens of thousands of fans in Brazil. The culture behind the event is incredible, fueled by the fact that football has some 250 million players across over 200 countries worldwide.

For one month, even the hockey-crazed nation of Canada that I call home will put aside its love for the rink and turn its eyes to the field. Living in a country that is very culturally diverse, it takes just a quick drive around the neighborhood to see Italy and Brazil flags attached to car windows and other World Cup paraphernalia scattered across front lawns and houses.

Beats wants everyone to know that it is part of this culture, releasing a new cinematic ad called The Game Before The Game. The five-minute spot captures the intensity leading up to the World Cup, including the pressure and fandom surrounding the players. The ad features over a half-dozen football stars, ranging from German players Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze to Neymar da Silva and Chicharito… Read More

 

Apple introduces MFi specifications for Lightning cable headphones

By Cody Lee on Jun 4, 2014

According to a report tonight from 9to5Mac, Apple has quietly introduced a new specification for accessory manufacturers in its MFi program. The spec allows them to create headphones that connect to devices using a Lightning cable instead of 3.5mm.

The change will allow for a new breed of headphones that are capable of handling lossless stereo 48 kHz digital audio output, and have access to headphone remote controls. And Apple plans to activate support in newer iOS devices in a future update… Read More

 

Survey shows Beats deal is increasing Apple’s ‘cool’ among students

By Cody Lee on Jun 3, 2014

Apple didn’t make much mention of its $3 billion Beats acquisition at WWDC yesterday, but it didn’t really have to. Since the news broke in early May, the storyline has pretty much dominated much of the tech-related news cycle.

And it seems to be having a positive impact on Apple’s image. According to a new survey by education technology company Chegg, which involved the polling of 10,000 students, the acquisition will make the iPad-maker more ‘cool.’ Read More

 

How the Apple-Beats deal affects HP, AT&T and others

By Joe Rossignol on May 31, 2014

If you haven’t been following the latest news, it is a prerequisite to know that Apple has acquired Beats for $3 billion before reading further. The announcement has created a lot of confusion in regards to what the acquisition means for Beats and existing partnerships with the brand. Just to be clear, Beats collectively refers to both Beats Electronics, which markets high-end headphones, speakers and audio software, and the streaming music service Beats Music.

Prior to being acquired, Beats had several partnerships with other brands, including companies that are direct competitors with Apple. Most notable is Hewlett-Packard, which uses Beats Audio branding and technologies in its product lineup. AT&T has an exclusive deal with Beats Music to sell subscriptions and an unlimited music downloading family plan, and design firm Ammunition has a partnership to create Beats products. Even HTC has been in the mix.

Read ahead to find out how the Apple-Beats deal affects all of these deals…

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Watch the full Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine interview at Code Conference

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2014

Having originally anticipated sending its online services and software engineering chiefs, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi, to speak at Recode.net’s Recode Conference, Apple’s changed its mind after announcing the $3 billion Beats buy and has opted to dispatch Beats co-founder and music mogul Jimmy Iovine instead of Craig.

My colleague Cody has published several articles covering the two men’s appearance at the conference. Based on a couple video snippets Recode published earlier this week, we’ve heard that Apple’s best product pipeline in 25 years is coming later in 2014, learned about the latest iTunes stats and gotten amused by Eddy Cue’s opinion on the current state of TV (in short, it “sucks”).

The interview is now available for streaming straight from Recode and I’ve included the full video for your viewing pleasure right after the break… Read More

 

Apple paid $500M for Beats Music, $2.5B for Beats hardware (and other tidbits)

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2014

According to a breakdown of Apple’s $3 billion Beats buy published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, the company basically paid less than $500 million for the Beats Music subscription service and about $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics LCC, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software (which some dismiss as a software equalizer that boosts the bass).

The report alleges that the acquisition – the most expensive in Apple’s history – gives the Cupertino firm Beats’ brand power and star leadership. The story downplays the importance of the generic Beats Music streaming service to the overall deal…

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Beats releases improved Solo2 on-ear headphones

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2014

Less than 24 hours into Apple’s announcement that it is buying Beats for $3 billion, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s startup has announced a refreshed version of its best-selling headphones model, the Solo². Of course, this has nothing to do with Apple as the accessory has been in the making for months.

The new on-ear headphones offer a more dynamic, wider range of sound and a clarity that will “bring you closer to what the artist intended”. The design has been revised for a better custom-fit feeling… Read More

 

iTunes surpasses 35 billion songs sold, iTunes Radio hits 40 million listeners

By Cody Lee on May 29, 2014

Speaking at last night’s inaugural Code Conference, Apple SVP of Internet services Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine shared some numbers on their respective music services following yesterday’s major acquisition.

Iovine talked Beats Music, and Cue of course talked iTunes, which have each hit major milestones within the last week. Beats has surpassed the quarter million subscriber mark, and iTunes hit 35 billion digital downloads sold… Read More

 

Apple acquires Beats for $3 billion

By Joe Rossignol on May 28, 2014

After weeks of speculation, Apple confirmed just moments ago that it has reached a deal to acquire Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will be joining Apple, the company announced. Beats is best known for its popular lineup of headphones, speakers and audio software, and in January launched a new streaming music service called Beats Music in partnership with AT&T.

This marks the largest acquisition that Apple has ever made, divided into a purchase price of $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time. But it comes at a pivotal time for Apple, as iTunes music sales decline in light of the rising popularity of streaming music services. Apple will now operate its own streaming music service in Beats Music, going head on against competitors like Spotify and Pandora…

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Tim Cook interviews offer more details on Beats acquisition

By Cody Lee on May 28, 2014

In addition to giving comments for the press release and writing a memo to employees, Tim Cook apparently invited a handful of high profile journalists to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters today to talk about the just-announced Beats acquisition.

Cook spoke with reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times and other publications this afternoon on the Beats buyout. And we’ve rounded up some of the more interesting tidbits from each interview, below… Read More

 

Beats Music apps to remain in Android, Windows Phone stores

By Cody Lee on May 28, 2014

Now that the long-rumored Beats deal has been confirmed by Apple, folks are wondering what’s to become of the Beats Music service. Although it just launched in January, it has already built up a [small] loyal following of subscribers.

The good news is, it sounds like Apple is going to allow Beats to operate as a separate company, which will include its streaming music service. And according to reports, it has no plans to pull the Android and Windows Phone clients… Read More

 

Tim Cook issues memo to Apple employees regarding Beats deal

By Cody Lee on May 28, 2014

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Apple confirmed that it has reached an agreement to acquire Beats Electronics this afternoon. The deal is worth $3 billion, split into a $2.6 billion payout and $400 million that will vest over time.

In the press release, Tim Cook said that ‘music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple.’ And he shared a similar sentiment in a memo he just emailed to the company’s employees… Read More

 

Beats Music drops annual subscription fee to $99, free trial extended to 14 days for everyone

By Christian Zibreg on May 28, 2014

Hot on the heels of officially announcing the major $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics LCC., and ahead of its SVP Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi’s joint appearance at the Code Conference tonight, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s four months old music service has just sweetened the deal.

The startup has dropped the price of Beats Music yearly subscription free to $99.99, down from $119.88.

Additionally, the previous 7-day free trial of Beats Music has now been extended in a “no strings attached” move to fourteen days to all users… Read More

 
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