My First 7 Questions About This Apple-Beats Deal (Which, By the Way, I’m Not Assuming Is Happening)

As a budding audiophile who’s trying his best not to spend all his money on new audio goodies, Beats has always been a brand that looks good (though really plasticky and cheap to me), but sounds horrid and costs a bomb.

The only thing from the Beats line-up I would buy is the Pill, and that’s not going to happen now that Creative have released the SR20, which is cheaper, more impressive, more feature-packed, and probably better sounding. Oh, and I should support a company from my own country too.

But anyway, from what I hear, the old Beats headphones were just muddy bass and not much else. So much for ‘reproducing what the musicians want you to hear’. The brand got by not on sound quality, but on marketing, branding, good looks, and celebrity endorsement.

Monster got a bit of an unfair deal having to produce Beats for Dr. Dre, and their reputation wasn’t so good until they came up with their own line of headphones and earphones which were miles better than what Beats could offer. Their split meant that Beats was now on their own, and Monster could shine without having its name dragged through the mud in audiophile circles.

Apparently, the 2013-revised Beats line-up is much better in terms of sound, and bar some design flaws, could actually be recommended by audiophiles. That was surprising news to me, but on further consideration, it wasn’t really that shocking for Beats to actually improve their sound (but not their ridiculous pricing).

With Beats’ arrival on the scene, proper headphone companies had to rush to create consumer-friendly products. The Sennheiser Momentum is one of many beautiful headphones that look AND sound good, and Beats had to up their game or lose out on the lucrative market they created in the first place.

But where does this all go? For me, as a mild fan of Apple products, I would love for them to get Jonny Ive on the scene and redesign Beats to be something classier. A more industrial look is something I crave, and it would be awesome for Apple to produce headphones like that.

Not to mention sound quality. Steve Jobs always harped about sound quality in Apple devices, and from accounts, the iPhone has always been one of the best-sounding smartphones. Ditto the iPod lines and so forth. So a Beats purchase could potentially see even more improvements in the sound and design, which could make Beats an actually desirable product for audiophiles.

Of course, I doubt Apple will fix the ridiculous prices Beats have slapped on their headphones, which will keep me away and push me towards buying other cheaper, better sounding headphones. And if Apple does purchases Beats, more than likely it’ll be for Beats Music.

But one can dream, eh?

TIME

When you hear that Apple may buy a well-known company, it’s dangerous to assume that it’s going to happen. Actually, based on history, the safest assumption is that the idea is sheer fantasy–there have been countless rumors of such acquisitions which, though always fun to speculate about, never amounted to anything.

With that out of the way: Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times are reporting that Apple is “closing in” on a $3.2 billion deal to buy Beats, the maker of headphones and speakers (and a new subscription music service) which was co-founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. They say it’s possible it could be announced next week.

I’m not assuming that the acquisition is as real and close to being done as Garrahan and Bradshaw say it is–and even they stress that it could fall apart at the last minute. But even if you…

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