Rumors have surfaced that Apple plans to abandon the ubiquitous 3.5mm headphone jack. This story developed when Apple blog, 9to5mac, discovered that Apple submitted a design specification to its licensing program which would connect headphones using the Lightning port.
For Apple, this is a smart move. By removing the classic headphone port, Apple makes all previously designed headphones obsolete. This wipes out products of competitors, and maybe most importantly, it sheds more light on the significance of the $3 billion Beats Electronics acquisition. Rather than collaborating with Beats Electronics to create headphones with Lightning port accessibility, Apple now has the ability to earn exponentially more money from license fees and adaptor sales. The fact that such headphones would probably retain the iconic Beats logo only adds to Apple’s gain, as both brands are synonymous with current popular culture.
Moreover, this innovation, or business ploy, should instigate new technology developments from other competitors, only making Apple diverse and exclusive. Without a headphone jack, Apple perpetuates its own longevity by locking consumers in to purchasing more Apple products.
Sometimes the wellbeing of the customer is not considered at all. With this move, we stand to lose big time. Now that our beloved headphones are obsolete, we must either purchase bulky adaptors or new headphones all together. Those Beats Studio headphones you just bought? Yea, those are no longer functional, which means shelling out another $200+ to listen to music.
Its funny how the simplest changes result in huge revenues for a company. I can’t say I’m upset with the Beats acquisition or this news because its kind of ingenious. For a full read on this recent development, check out the article on Forbes.
For those living under a rock, Apple has once again made headlines as it plans to acquire current pop culture staple, Beats Electronics. According to Apple and multiple news outlets, the deal is set to be worth $3.2 billion. Apple isn’t the first popular brand to make such a lofty acquisition recently, as Facebook purchased messaging app, WhatsApp, for $19 billion and Oculus VR for $2 billion. Google has also pulled out the wallet and bought Nest for $3.2 billion– certainly, none of these deals have broken the backs of either company.
Many different conjectures have been published as to why Apple has selected Beats Electronics to be aligned with the brand. Some believe its because of Apple’s desire to hire Beats’ co-founder Jimmy Iovine, who is apparently a leading innovator within the music industry; others think its for the newly released Beats streaming service, which has utterly failed to compete against Spotify; and then there are those who simply believe Apple is floundering, running out of the creative ideas consumers have come to expect from the powerhouse tech corporation. This final theory may hold some weight considering the fact that Apple has followed the pattern of the other aforementioned corporations’ acquisitions.
Personally, I believe Apple made this move because (A) it places another product that has huge profit margins in Apple’s current lineup, and (B) perhaps for revitalizing/merging iTunes Radio with Beats’ streaming service. Whatever theory you believe, its definitely not the groundbreaking move that will recover some of Apple’s lost market-share to other technology companies. Maybe Apple has some ‘holy-shit’ idea up their sleeve that we don’t know about, but until then let’s just think of this as two iconic brands getting in bed together– a la Jay Z and Beyoncé.
As for producer/rapper, Dr. Dre, he can now be regarded as hip hop’s wealthiest mogul, surpassing Jay Z and P Diddy. Although people speculated that he would be the first billionaire out of the triumvirate, Forbes estimates that this deal will bring in about $480 million after taxes– leaving Dre $200 million shy of the illustrious billion dollar mark. Regardless, I can’t imagine seeing a Dr. Dre album releasing any time soon, especially after this huge pay-day.