Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn

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Let the Beats Go On: European Commission OKs Apple’s $3B purchase of Beats

07/28/2014

The European Commission issued a press release to say that the Apple-Beats deal cleared under the EU Merger Regulation legislation. The goal of the EU’s merger policies is to examine such deals and "prevent harmful effects on competition."

Apple has confirmed it will buy Beats for $3 billion, making it the company’s largest acquisition ever. Beats is best known for its premium headphones, but also recently launched a subscription music streaming service that was the key to Apple’s interest.

The commission said on Monday that although both Beats and Apple sell headphones in Europe, their combined market share is low and the two companies are not close competitors. The EU noted that headphones from Apple and Beats "differ markedly in functionality and design."

It was also said that major headphone competitors, such as Bose, Sennheiser and Sony, would remain in the marketplace after the Apple-Beats deal closes.

It’s now up to US regulators to issue their approval, and it would be surprising if this didn’t happen soon.

via European Commission OKs Apple's $3B purchase of Beats.

Bose accuses Beats of using patented noise-cancelling tech

07/27/2014

Bose Corp. filed a lawsuit on Friday that accuses popular headphone maker Beats Electronics of infringing upon several of its patents.

The suit claims that Bose lost sales because Beats—which Apple announced it would acquire for $3 billion in May—used patented noise-cancelling technology in its Studio and Studio Wireless headphone lines.

Beats’ products that allegedly use the technology “can also be used for noise cancellation when no music is played, a feature that Beats also advertises,” the suit states. “Thus, Beats specifically encourages users to use the infringing functionality. Beats advertises no method to turn off features that cause end users to directly infringe.”

Bose is probably taking advantage of the fact that Beats is now valued at $3 billion. But why didn’t they wait a few months more? Apple doesn’t yet own Beats, and any money that can be obtained in a suit like this would come from Beats, not Apple.

Also, noise-cancelling technology is quite old; I’m surprised that there are patents like this, but these may simply be patents that refine the technology.

I’m reminded of the Grateful Dead’s wall of sound concerts, where sound engineer Bear (Stanley Owsley) discovered that he could cancel out the sound coming from behind the musicians using two microphones. If you watch The Grateful Dead Movie you can see those noise canceling mikes: the singers sing into the top one, and the lower one picks up the sound from behind them to cancel it out. Alas, the technology was in early stages then, and the sound of the vocals from that period isn’t great.

Jerry-1974

via Bose accuses Beats of using patented noise-cancelling tech | Ars Technica.

Even with a Mac Pro…

07/26/2014

It’s amazing that even running a Mac Pro (the latest model), iTunes can beachball or freeze up…

Yosemite

Why You Shouldn’t Install the OS X Yosemite Public Beta

07/24/2014

Apple is letting non-developers download a public beta of OS X Yosemite to try it out. Should you do this? Later today, Apple will open the doors to one million users, allowing them to download the public beta of OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This is the first public beta program of OS X that Apple […]

The iTunes Store is Big Business

07/23/2014

Apple had an earnings call yesterday, and, as often, they’ve been printing money. $7.7 billion in profit in the last quarter; the iTunes Store generated $4.5 billion in revenue. As MacRumors says: For the first fiscal nine months of the year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said iTunes software and services were the fastest growing part […]

Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple

07/21/2014

In my latest Macworld article, I look back at the history of the iPod, but also the history of the portable music player. As the iPod’s sales are decreasing, new devices are replacing it: iPhones, iPads, and even, perhaps, the mythical iWatch. I hold a small metal device in my hands and twirl my finger […]

AAC: Apple’s Preferred Audio Codec

07/18/2014

It seems that almost every day I read something about people not wanting to rip their music in AAC (the default format for iTunes and the iPod) because “it’s a proprietary format”, or “because it is owned by Apple.” I see this in forums and blog comments from people who seem to have a fair […]

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