The Apple acquisition of Beats shows that Apple is on a downward spiral as a brand. There I said it and before all you Apple zealots get your bowels in a snit let me explain. The strength of Apple has always been in the simplification and excellence of its products. You’ve probably seen Beats by Dre headphones around before — they’re incredibly trendy. The company’s annual sales revenue is reportedly around $1.5 billion. But are they good? The consensus is a big, fat “no.” Beats can cost upward of $379, and a chorus of music geeks argue they’re not worth the price. ”In terms of sound performance, they are among the worst you can buy,” Tyll Hertsens, editor-in-chief of the audiophile site InnerFidelity.com told the New York Times in 2011. He called them “extraordinarily bad.” Has any Apple product been classified as the worst you can buy?
I met Steve Jobs while working at Sony, when Sony was making disc drives for Apple PC’s. The engineers loved to meet with Mr Jobs because he often gave them ideas on how to make better disc drives and simplify their design. At the time Apple didn’t have the resources to manufacture their own disc drives, but today the company has more cash than they know what to do with. I can vision Mr Jobs throwing a pair of Beats headphones on the table and challenging Apple employees to come up with a better product that represents the Apple brand, not purchasing a brand because it’s hip.
Have there been Apple products that have failed in the past? Of course. Remember the Appel boom-box for the iPod? How about iWeb, the failed software for building a personal website?
I could have seen Apple purchasing WordPress because it’s a great platform for building a website, but purchasing Beats makes no sense to me. I don’t purchase Apple products because they are trendy, I purchase them because they outperform competitive products. I refuse to believe that Apple could not have developed a better headphone product than the current Beat offerings.
One thing I also understand is that a lot of today’s music is over-produced and electronically engineered. For bass heavy rap songs you don’t need a really good pair of headphones but for music that is created by artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, or the Beatles a good pair of headphones can make you go “wow”. Maybe I’m an old’ fart but these people were musicians not electronic programmers.
Apple, IMO, has jumped the shark with this acquisition. They are running out of ideas and innovation. Is there really a reason to get a new iPad? Is a bigger iPhone really the answer to lagging iPhone sales and why did it take so long to get to market?