The worst-kept secret in Apple's recent history (post iPhone 4 leak) has been the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Beats by Dre. It finally was announced, yesterday, just days before Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. This gave the newest Apple employees, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, a chance to participate in the Re/code conference. Iovine spoke with his new boss, Apple's Eddy Cue, on a range of topics.
I'm always on the lookout for quality headphones, and since I'm also a huge Star Wars fan, when I saw the SMS Street by 50 Star Wars line ($199.95) at the Consumer Electronics Show, I was very excited, and snapped a photo! 50 stands for 50 Cent, the rapper turned branding sensation, and he is apparently a Star Wars fan, too. At CES, he was paired up with a couple of Stormtroopers to announce these new headphones. The phones are available in Light or Dark Sides, with Vader, Stormtrooper, Rebel Alliance, or Boba Fett variations.
Lately I've been writing a lot about the rumored acquisition of Beats by Apple. In fact, I'm one of the few pundits who has focused specifically on the nature of Apple possibly joining forces with Dr. Dre. If Apple expected anything other than controversy from the good Doctor then I can only suggest that perhaps they did not fully vet their candidate for their executive board. In any case, Apple executives are said to be hot under the collar about Dr. Dre's release of a celebratory video in which he and actor Tyrese are toasting to the Apple acquisition and Dre's status as hip hop's first billionaire. This flies blatantly in the face of Apple's notoriously tight-lipped, and understandably controlling policies on disclosure. Now the same Internet that was all abuzz just days ago about the impending buyout, is all abuzz with rumors that the delay in an official announcement could signal that the deal (or at least Dre's part in it) is in serious jeopardy.
When it came to the iPod, I was an early adopter. And boy was it emancipating to no longer tote around CDs in my car or carry a Discman with me on the run. In fact, it was incredible.
At the time that the iPod emerged, smartphone apps were science fiction, like flux capacitors and hoverboards. But now, smartphones are not only ubiquitous, they are boasting more flexibility and nearly as much storage capacity as iPods. Could it mean the death of the iPod in the coming months and years? Maybe…
The hulking beast of an app that is iTunes has been updated. This has nothing to do with Apple's expected acquisition of Beats, instead iTunes 11.2 primarily adds enhancements for podcasts. If you subscribe to a lot of podcasts, iTunes will now let you automatically delete them as they are listened to, which will help free up space. To demonstrate just how big iTunes has become, the latest version requires 400MB. That's almost half a gigabyte of space! These days, iTunes does much more than handle music, podcasts, or even movies. iTunes is also responsible for browsing the mobile app store from a desktop computer. Apple has a separate Mac OS App Store app for browsing Mac apps.
Several days ago, Dr. Dre sent out a tweet noting that he may become the first billionaire rapper. Ever since, there has been unbridled speculation around the possible Apple acquisition of his Beats company (Which he owns with partner Jimmy Iovine) for $3.2 billion. With less than three weeks until WWDC, it looks like Apple may be delaying the announcement of their Beats acquisition until then.
With all my music, now on my iPhone, my old iPod has been displaced. But there's one area where I have stuck to a non-Apple MP3 player, and that is swimming. I had a cheap but (allegedly) waterproof MP3 player that my wife and I used while swimming laps. However, not only did it have limitations in terms of storage and navigation, the darn thing broke.
The rumored purchase of Beats by Apple has caused a fair amount of headshaking, but it makes a lot of sense. Sure, at $3.2 billion, it would be one of the larger purchases by Apple, but it's a smart move. Purchasing of Beats would give Apple several advantages, overnight. First, street credibility. With every iPhone and iPod, Apple gives away a pair of cheap earbuds. Sure, they were enhanced recently, but still there's no prestige in those nondescript white EarPods. Beats, however, made it cool to spend $300 on a pair of headphones. And their "b" logo is everywhere, even on smartphones and laptops.
At this very moment Apple is rumored to be involved in active talks to buy Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics. At over 3 billion dollars, this would be Apple’s biggest acquisition ever, far surpassing the $429 million Apple spent in 1996 to buy NeXT, its largest purchase to date.