Tags: apple beats | itunes | music

What Apple-Beats Union May Mean for 800 Million iTunes Customers

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 09:00 AM

Wearables. Cheaper streaming subscriptions. Remotely controlled home electronics.

These are the changes consumers are likely to see as Apple Inc. buys Beats Electronics for $3 billion, giving the world’s most valuable company a hip, upscale line of music products and a nascent streaming service to rejuvenate its iTunes business and sell existing customers even more products and services.

The key is Apple’s 800 million registered iTunes users. With credit cards on file at the Cupertino, California-based company, they are always just a click away from a purchase, whether it’s a beatbox portable speaker or a new generation of linked products for the home.

That may have been part of what Apple executive Eddy Cue was referring to last week when he said in an interview that “We’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.”

The deal has set off speculation about how Beats products and services will be integrated and where Apple itself is headed. Here’s what consumers might expect:

WEARABLES:

Apple probably will incorporate Beats Music into software that links to non-Apple devices, such as wristbands, headbands and wireless speakers, analysts say.

Selling new devices with built-in access to iTunes Music and the Beats Music subscription service would give Apple a leg up on competitors, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.

That could pressure Samsung Electronics Co. to follow suit and roil companies like Sonos Inc., the leader in the $10 billion global wireless audio speaker market. Owners of speaker systems like those made by Sonos are 2.5 times more likely to pay for a digital music subscription, according to research from Futuresource.

Apple plans to introduce a health-tracking app at its developers' conference this week, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the situation. The product will intially work with third-party devices. Apple is expected to release a smart watch this year, the newspaper said.

INTERNET OF THINGS:

Consumer electronics companies regularly create mobile applications that control products remotely, whether it’s a pay-TV service or home security system. Apple will probably announce as early as next week a drive to use its mobile devices as remotes for everything from wireless-equipped light bulbs to smart thermostats and speakers, according to the Financial Times, which cited sources it didn’t identify.

Apple’s iPads and iPhones could become the remote control for many consumer products. Its AppleTV device could output photos to TV screens, and Beats’ speakers could handle the sound — an often overlooked category in digital homes.

LOWER STREAMING PRICES:

Apple, with about $151 billion in cash, could market the Beats Music service at a loss and pressure Spotify Ltd. and Pandora Media Inc., the leading music streaming and Internet radio companies. Both offer paid subscriptions and free advertising-supported services, with Spotify at $4.99 to $9.99 a month, and Pandora at $4.99. Beats Music is $9.99.

Apple knows how to compete in low-margin businesses like streaming, which has yet to demonstrate profitability. Early on, the company barely broke even on music purchases after subtracting infrastructure costs and other expenses from its 30 percent cut of sales, said McQuivey, the Forrester analyst. It more than made up for any loss by commanding premium margins on its hardware.

The first step is grabbing more market share in a streaming business expected to grow to $5 billion by 2017, according to research from Futuresource. Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said the service has signed 250,000 subscribers since the debut in February. That’s just a 5 percent conversion of the 5 million downloads he said has been made at Apple’s App Store. Beats Music is also on devices using Google Inc.’s Android software.

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 
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Wearables. Cheaper streaming subscriptions. Remotely controlled home electronics. These are the changes consumers are likely to see as Apple Inc. buys Beats Electronics for $3 billion.
apple beats, itunes, music
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2014-00-02
Monday, 02 Jun 2014 09:00 AM
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