Beats by Apple headphones: The next big thing

Beats by Apple headphones: The next big thing

Summary: Apple’s acquisition of Beats Audio was only announced a few days ago, and they're already in the local Apple store in numbers.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple

When the acquisition of Beats Audio by Apple was announced, I thought the two companies had a good fit. They have more in common than most people think, especially when it comes to the Beats Audio headphone line. I could see Apple selling them alongside its own premium products.

Beats Apple store
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

On a recent trip to the local Apple store, I was surprised to notice a prominent display table covered with Beats headphones. Over half the headphones arranged on the display were from Beats. I've never seen this in the store before. It's impressive how fast Apple has gotten what are now its own headphones front and center.

These headphones aren't cheap; they range from $199 to almost $500. They are the very definition of premium products and why I thought Apple would do well with them in-house.

More impressively than how fast Apple has them in the store in numbers is the customer reaction to them. Several trips to the Apple store to see how the company is doing has seen customers fawning all over them. The headphones table has always been the busiest in the store, with at least 8 or 10 customers trying them out. On two occasions there have been at least two reps ringing up Beats headphone sales while I was there.

Apple Store
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The Apple store sales reps I've spoken to have uniformly reported that the headphones are proving to be very popular. The main question they get asked is why the most expensive ones are worth the price difference over the $200 headphones. Customers often end up buying one of the more expensive models. Apple's put itself in a pretty good position with the Beats acquisition.

This activity is happening and Apple hasn't run any marketing for them. The company will surely conduct its typical marketing magic once the deal closes that will see Beats by Apple headphones moving out the door at a great pace.

It's important to remember that this is just one Apple store. It's in an affluent part of town but that's where Apple puts its stores so that may not be a factor. Maybe I have just been in the store at the right times to see the activity surrounding the Beats headphones.

I don't believe that’s the case, I sense a growing trend with the new headphones and how they will resonate with Apple's customers. I feel this so strongly that I'll go out on a limb and make a prediction, something I rarely do. I won't be surprised to see Beats by Apple products flying off the shelves in Apple stores.

Remember where you heard this, I believe next year at an Apple keynote we'll hear how Apple has sold millions of these expensive headphones in its stores. The product line will become a significant part of the Apple revenue stream. We may be looking at the Next Big Thing from Apple and not know it.

Update at 9:25am ET: It's worth noting that the Beats Audio acquisition is not expected to close until later this year — Apple's fiscal fourth quarter — which makes the apparent cooperation even more impressive. The two primary founders of Beats have already been featured with Apple at two public events and a new Beats ad for the World Cup has surfaced featuring Apple products throughout.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple

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  • The Apple faithful will buy

    The horde of Apple faithful will purchase them in droves. Fact is you can always count on the faithful to purchase anything and everything Apple sells.

    I bet, if they wanted to, Apple could sell iIce and the faithful would buy it; take it home to watch it melt; and then buy some more.
    • Hate Apple and its customers much?

      Because that's all I got from your vapid post.
    • ......yeah!

      and Chevy and Ford lovers will purchase their favored brands too. GROW TFU !!!
    • And line up for the

      "Experience", reality distortion field at full strength.
    • Faithful doesn't mean fanatic

      Beats are pure crap. I love my iPhone and MacBook air but I wouldn't use the most expensive Beats if they paid me to wear them. Well, maybe I would, but I would have to be put on salary and not required to actually listen to music through them.
  • The main question they get asked...

    "The main question they get asked is why the most expensive ones are worth the price difference over the $200 headphones."

    How do they answer this?
  • Tech fashionistas = A fool and his money are quickly parted

    "The main question they get asked is why the most expensive ones are worth the price difference over the $200 headphones. Customers often end up buying one of the more expensive models. "

    If you can't tell, why would you take the word of a "Sales person"? Only a fool would IMO.

    I believe its' less about actual sound quality, but more about being seen with the more expensive set. There ARE other brands that provide better or just as good sound quality, but are not as visible around the necks of NBA, NFL, or hip-hop artists.

    Apple has achieved a marketing coo when it comes to selling it's devices primarily as fashion accessories, more so than the actually technical benefits they offer over other models/brands.

    Lots (most) of Apple buyers know very little about the specs or what other options they are overlooking by going with non-apple device.

    To each his own, as long as college students aren't using student loan money to purchase these overpriced products, but I'm betting many are. No excuses for higher loan debt other than the individual using the money for things other than school costs.
    • insert

      By NOT going with non-apple device.

      Edit capabilities would be appreciated
    • It's not your money

      so why do you care?
      • It's called the social contract...

        - having an interest in the greater good beyond your own self-interests. Students spending loan money on such a petty self-indulgence is A) wasteful, B) indicative of poor decision-making skills, C) indicative of petty ego-centrism, D) poor grasp of fundamental financial concepts (I could go on, but these are bad enough).

        These students represent the future of government, private sector and our neighborhoods. Are these traits you want to endorse? Or do you just plan on being dead before it becomes your problem?

        Absolutely nothing wrong with expressing concern for the upcoming generation. The willful apathy you seem to suggest is another story.
    • Agreed on quality

      My hope is that the mediocre sound will be greatly improved by Apple.
    • In reality you have this backwards

      I'm pretty sure most Apple buyers are pretty "up" on tech and specs. They also know the real value of their investments and what is truly useful.

      Just some of the standard Apple hater claptrap.
      • can't you have a 'con' opinion toward apple

        without being branded as a 'hater'?
        How do we explain the crazy popularity with young kids. They are authorities on specs and quality? All this stuff has more of a toy and/or fashion like appeal across all age groups.

        My son and another friend I know want $200 beats, and its only because they want to be seen with them.
        This is a case when its pure marketing and a bit of luck and they can charge $200 for $20 headphones. I heard a pair and they were too bassy and not tight. Certainly far from exceptional headphones. I have $100 audio-technicas which are way better.
        Plus these kids care nothing about music, and wouldn't care if they didn't produce audio, just that they had them on their head, or pounding out one-note electronic bass.
        • How was that comment a "con" toward Apple?!?

          It wasn't even a comment about Apple as much as it was a derogatory comment about their customers, a completely different thing. And yes, those comments make on a "hater".
      • pretty sure? most Apple buyers are up on tech

        Actually that's not what's borne out by Apples own promotions eg "it just works" where they sell the products on the idea that you don't? need to know as much about tech things making them 'ideal'? for non tech - savvy people.

        And a lot of people who are "apple faithful' type people do seem to know very little about tech and spec's, because if they did they may not have brought an Apple product in the first place if they were looking at spec's rather then marketing..

        This is also been my observation in real life with people using mac's etc, they often have no idea why they can't do this or that like their windows friends can, but they don't care because its a Apple product and therefore must be better, right?

        As others have said, many people buy Apple products because its trendy and don't care about spec's.... this doesn't make them wrong or right, but it does define a lot of people by what they consider important - eg; fashion vs expense - nothing new there, people have been doing that for thousands of years given the circumstances to be able to afford it.
  • The next big thing

    you mean like a big mosquito with its big proboscus in your wallet?
    Jacob VanWagoner
  • Will it come with

    the new proprietary apple connector that costs an extra $50?
    • Do you have any other examples of this?

      No, just your misinformed trolling.
      Hint: 30 pin connector did things USB couldn't and could be found on cables costing $1.50. Lightning does things 30 pin and USB can't and is to found on cables costing under $5.
      You were saying?
      • What did 30 pin connectors...

        ... do that USB ones could not.
        Rann Xeroxx
        • 30 pin connectors have special features

          Like shorting audio pins so your speakers and/or microphones don't work.
          If its not broken glass, it's "I can hear them but they cant hear me" type faults and much of it was the 30pin connector.