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.
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.
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.