By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 05/29/2014
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.
Some analysts (other than those of us at iPhone Life) have been confused by the deal because they couldn't see why Apple was buying Beats. Was it for the overpriced headphones? The brand? The people (Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine)? Or the Beat Music streaming service? Perhaps any one of those reasons wouldn't justify Apple's largest acquisition to date. But for all of the above, it's a steal at $3 billion (less than the originally discussed $3.2 billion.)
Apple, and Steve Jobs, had been working with Iovine for years, so this is not a spontaneous act. Eddy Cue said "This isn’t something that just happened overnight. Jimmy and I have talked about working together for a decade." Eddy went on to insist that they were not trying to "buy cool" and indeed Apple is already one of the most respected and recognized and, dare I say, "cool" brands.
Apple TV was another subject of discussion. While Iovine insisted his focus was on music and not TV, he did lament the state of movie selection. Iovine said "I’ve got an enormous job with music. I’m not going anywhere near TV. But, that said, my bigger problem is with movies. I wanted to watch a movie the other day with my girlfriend. Too hard to pick a movie. We need curation."
Apple TV needs an update. Roku, Amazon, and Google all have released smart TV products or updates that make the current Apple model look stale. However, it turns out the so-called Apple hobby generates $1 billion a year with 20 million units sold. Cue promised more enhancements as part of Apple's best product line in 25 years, so WWDC should be interesting!