U2's Bono on Collaborating With Apple: 'They Let Us Into the Labs'

With the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple announced a partnership with U2 that saw the band's latest album distributed to iTunes users for free. In interviews following the launch of the album, U2's manager suggested Apple and U2 had formed a "long-term" relationship that would see them collaborating on additional projects, and now U2 frontman Bono has shed a bit more light on the partnership.

At the Web Summit in Dublin that VentureBeat attended, Bono told the audience that Apple "let us into the labs," suggesting the band's been able to work with Apple on unreleased products and services. Bono went on to share a story about an interaction with Steve Jobs that hints at what U2 and Apple might be doing.

2014-11-06-09-02-04

Image via Chris O'Brien of VentureBeat

To illustrate the kind of concepts U2 and Apple might be exploring, Bono told the story of being in a house in France with Steve Jobs a decade ago. Bono looked at a version of iTunes being displayed on a TV screen and asked Jobs if he liked design so much, then "why does that look like a spreadsheet?"

Bono said he had wondered why the album covers displayed on iTunes weren't interactive or why they didn't display archival photos, lyrics, or 3-D versions of band members: anything that would make for a more engaging visual experience with fans to complement the music.

Jobs replied that the operating system and the technology didn't quite exist yet for such an experience.

"But it does now," Bono said.

Over the course of the last few years, Apple has been facing declining music downloads, which has led the company to launch iTunes Radio and purchase streaming music service Beats Music. There are rumors suggesting Apple is planning both a dramatic overhaul of iTunes and a rebranding of Beats Music, possibly merging the two into one all-inclusive service, and it's possible U2 is offering advice on new iTunes features.

Apple has also been aiming to get artists more involved in the music distribution process. In a recent interview, Apple employees and Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine said Apple's goal was to bring together the people who create art with those who distribute it, which has been evidenced in the company's recent endeavors with U2.

In addition to his comments on what the band might be working on with Apple, Bono told the audience that U2 "wanted to work with the creative people at Apple, and that Jony Ive is a guy he'd "like to be in a band with. He'd be like a bigger Edge." He also commented on the negative reaction that the "Songs of Innocence" album garnered from some users, which he apologized for in October, saying "We got a lot of people who weren't interested in U2 to be mad at U2. I would call that an improvement in the relationship."

Top Rated Comments

ArtOfWarfare Avatar
102 months ago
3-D versions of band members

Bono is completely full of himself if he thinks I want a 3D version of himself, or anyone else from U2.

On a more serious note, this is dumb. I don't want a 3D version of anyone from any band, whether I like the band or not. If I like the band a lot I might want to go to the concert, but that's for the entire experience, not just so I can see the members of the band.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
copykris Avatar
102 months ago
i don't think bono has any idea how irrelevant his band has become since zooropa
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mac8867 Avatar
102 months ago
Man... isn't there anything better to put on the MR Front Page... I though we established, and Bono acknowledged, we don't give a SHI#$^% what U2 has to say.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thefredelement Avatar
102 months ago
Wouldn't it be cool if the artist could ditch labels and just release onto iTunes?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JHankwitz Avatar
102 months ago
Yes, screwing your loyal fans that pay $9.99 per month for access to your music via streaming services into paying an additional $9.99 to buy a CD at Target is "funny".

How is that screwing loyal fans. For that single $9.99 payment, you get unlimited plays. That's a bargain. Streaming just is not worth the ongoing cost.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
markfc Avatar
102 months ago
I hate Bono but ;

"We got a lot of people who weren't interested in U2 to be mad at U2. I would call that an improvement in the relationship."

Made me laugh. Here Bono, have a GoodBoy sticker for the day.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...