Apple and Beats Scrapped Sonos-Like Speaker Post Acquisition

Before it was acquired by Apple, Beats Electronics was working on a Sonos-like Wi-Fi-connected loudspeaker that would play music from services like Pandora and Spotify straight from the Internet, reports Variety. The news comes days after learning that the new Apple Music streaming service will not immediately be compatible with Sonos speakers.

beatspill

Beats Pill speakers

Case in point: Beats Electronics, which Apple acquired for $3 billion last year, was working on a Wifi-connected loudspeaker that could be used to play subscription music services straight from the Internet, according to multiple sources familiar with the project. That would have put Beats in direct competition with Sonos, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based speaker manufacturer succeeding with a very Apple-like product lineup.

The product was set to be launched during the holiday season of 2014 but was scrapped after Apple acquired Beats. The headphone maker was looking to first introduce a powerful speaker for the living room before introducing smaller, more affordable speakers for other rooms like kitchens and bedrooms. The speakers would incorporate Bluetooth alongside Wi-Fi and NFC to make music playback as seamless as possible when entering rooms. The biggest speaker would cost around $750, according to Variety.

Beats was looking to build the technology for the speakers from scratch, but ran into problems and had to switch chipset manufacturers and delay the project multiple times. Because of these issues, Apple decided to kill the project. However, another source tells Variety that Beats and Apple management have simply decided to put the project on hiatus.

It's unclear if or when the project will be revisited, especially as Variety reports that the workforce at Beats is far smaller than it was pre-Apple acquisition, with one source saying the headphone company is 50% smaller than before. Additionally, Beats chief product officer T.J. Grewal and head of loudspeaker engineering David Titzer have left the company, according to their LinkedIn accounts. In July 2014, it was reported that Apple trimmed 200 employees from Beats in areas where Beats and Apple overlapped.

Apple has discontinued speaker projects in the past, most famously the iPod Hi-Fi in 2007. More recently, the Cupertino company has had to recall Beats Pill XL speakers due to a possible fire hazard, with Apple issuing customers a $325 refund rather than replacing the units.

Tag: Beats

Top Rated Comments

Benjamin Frost Avatar
83 months ago
I wish Apple had bought B&O instead of Beats and halved all their prices.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jim L Avatar
83 months ago
I have to say ... I think Apple totally wasted their money on this acquisition. I have a pair of Beats headphones for workouts and I think they're awful. Not worth what I paid. I also couldn't care less about their music app.

Apple would have done better to acquire Nest, Rachio and some other companies if they really want to make their HomeKit succeed.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macrooster Avatar
83 months ago
I have to say ... I think Apple totally wasted their money on this acquisition. I have a pair of Beats headphones for workouts and I think they're awful. Not worth what I paid. I also couldn't care less about their music app.

Apple would have done better to acquire Nest, Rachio and some other companies if they really want to make their HomeKit succeed.
You're comparing two completely different markets. Millions upon millions upon millions of people listen to music across different cultures and incomes. It was a smart decision of Apple, the former leader in digital music, to acquire a trendy company like beats.

Homekit is a MASSIVE niche product. Focusing their energies and money on that would be a complete and utter waste.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macrooster Avatar
83 months ago
Sonos and Beats both suck balls.

Get some Audioengine A5s ;) That's hi-fidelity at a decent price.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
83 months ago
I don't really understand this whole WiFi speaker trend thing, which causes mediocre speakers to be super expensive just because they have WiFi. Just take your computer or phone, plug it into any speaker using the headphone jack, and voila! It's a lot cheaper, there are far more options, and there's no risk of it becoming obsolete, slow, incompatible, or whatever in the future. And now that you can just swipe up to get music controls on the iPhone from the lock screen, there's not much need for playback control buttons on the speaker itself.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mistasopz Avatar
83 months ago
I wish Apple had bought B&O...
The railroad??
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
Pixel Stand 23W 668x445

Google Pixel 6 Rumored to Support 23W Wireless Charging, Beating iPhone 12's MagSafe

Wednesday September 1, 2021 1:54 am PDT by
Google is rumored to be working on a new wireless charging stand that could deliver 23W of charging power to its upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, according to a leaked inventory image published by Android Police. Image via Android Police. If true, that would beat the iPhone 12's maximum 15W wireless charging speed (or 12W on ‌iPhone 12 mini‌) using Apple's MagSafe charger, and...