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
95 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
95 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
95 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
95 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
95 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
95 months ago
I wish Apple had bought B&O...
The railroad??
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
Apple Watch 6 New Features Feature 2

Six New Apple Watch Features Coming Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 8:12 am PDT by
With new Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 models now in the hands of customers, Apple has brought a host of smart new features to many people's wrists. But there's more to come. Apple has a handful of additional features in store for Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra owners before the year's end, and some of them are watchOS 9 functions, which means they will even work on older Apple ...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...