The wearable future of Apple's Beats: A fantasy

What could Apple do with Beats? That's easy -- add iOS 8 and improve their audio technologies and you've got one of the coolest wearable products on the planet. Here's the deal:



Beats has its own big brand appeal. Apple and Beats combined own about 70% of the U.S. headphone market (among teens). Imagine what happens if Apple maintains the Beats brand as a wholly owned company -- with full access to Apple technologies.


Apple is design: From its products, packaging, retail stores and the rest, the company is a great example of an integrated multichannel play that puts users first. That's why it has industry-leading customer satisfaction levels, big profits and lots of repeat sales. Now, add Apple's design aesthetic to the already popular Beats pans.


Beats headphones aren't the best headphones in the world, but joining Apple will go a long way toward licensing the best audio technologies and inventing a few more.


Apple's recently published patent talked about creating headphones that connect to the device using the Lightning cable. Lots of nonsense has been written about this, but the bottom line is that the audio you get from that port is of much higher quality than you get from a headphone jack -- ask any iOS dock accessory maker. Plus you can use the same cable to charge the internal battery inside your headphones.

Internal battery

Just put a battery inside, give them processors and a little connectivity and you have the best designed headphones on the market, equipped with state-of-the-art audio technology.


What are headphones for? They are not for watching TV, they are for music. We will need a music service to support them, how about…


If you're going to use the world's best headphones you're not going to want lossy, low-bitrate music streaming. Great headphones need great music, so you'll need a high-res lossless audio streaming service from Apple to make these things great.


How might you control music playback on your Beats headphones? If these are connected systems with a processor inside, then why not use Siri to control music playback? And, while you're at it, perhaps Siri can give you directions, notifications, schedule appointments and more.


It seems most likely the first iterations of Apple Beats will be as iPhone compatible accessories, but as the technology improves they will eventually replace the smartphone. You'll be able to make phone calls and access the world's best high-fidelity streaming music service using Beats. You'll use an iPhone if you need that kind of device, but for many all you'll need is Beats.

Why Beats?

Well, if you intend launching an incredibly fashionable collection of wearable devices, you may as well own the most fashionable headphone brand. And if these are music-related devices, why wouldn’t you want Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine involved?

What's next?

I'm putting no schedule to these events. They seem so insanely obvious it's surprising the analysts don't recognize them. Don't you think the analysts (and indeed the wider banking industry) should justify their eye-watering paychecks, expensive cars and other huge lifestyle advantages by saying something smart now and then? They don't. And I think (as did Steve Jobs) those analysts are pretty stupid. I'd take their checks.

Apple's got the Beats.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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