Beats X – Not Entirely Wireless Headphones
Apple Acquires Beats by Dre
Back in 2014, Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics (originally known as Beats by Dr. Dre) and Beats Music seemed like a needless exercise for the Silicon Valley giant, as it was unclear whether Apple would simply rebrand Beats products and services under the Apple banner. Following the sale, newly established subscription-based streaming service Beats Music unsurprisingly faced the axe to make way for the debuting Apple Music. However, Beats Electronics largely remained unchanged and continued to produce headphones and speakers under its own brand. Fast-forward to 2017 and not only do Beats products remain best-sellers, they now combine Beats’ trademark style and swagger with Apple’s technological innovation and expertise, as evidenced by the launch of Beats X earphones.
Beats Headphones - Tethered yet Wireless
Due to their tethered design, Beats X present an interesting proposition for fans of the Apple eco-system looking to make the transition from wired to wireless earphones. Unlike the recently released AirPods (Apple’s first foray into the wireless earbud market), Beats X seemingly aid the transition by offering the ‘best of both worlds’. While embracing the wireless trend for device connection purposes, each Beats X earbud remains tethered to the other, reducing the fear and likelihood of losing such a small product. Admittedly this concept is nothing new for those accustomed to traditional wired and wireless headphones that utilise a headband, but in the case of small earbuds, decreasing the chance of loss is always welcome.
Beats by Dre Becomes Beats by Apple
Along with magnetic earbuds and a ‘Flex-Form’ cable working in tandem to keep the earphones secure when not in use, the incorporation of Apple’s W1 Chip (first introduced within Apple AirPods) provides Beats X with a unique selling point to entice consumers away from rival earphones. To summarise, Apple W1 technology brings seamless setup and switching between Apple devices (it just works), in addition to enhanced battery life over competitors, which boasts two hours of playback thanks to 5-minute ‘Fast-Fuel’ charging, or eight hours overall. Furthermore, the tethered cable includes physical buttons that incorporate a Siri compatible mic dubbed ‘RemoteTalk’. Crucially, users are afforded the option to accept calls, adjust volume and control media playback via Siri voice commands or on-cable buttons. Comparatively, Apple AirPods lack any sort of media playback facilities unless Siri is utilised, and even then, functionality is limited to volume adjustment and pre-set playlist playback.
Leveraging Apple Music
As a further incentive, all purchases of Beats X include a gift card providing three-month access to Apple Music at no extra cost. Although new users of the service initially enjoy a three-month trial with no purchase necessary, imperatively the Beats gift card (also available with other selected wireless Beats headphones for a limited time) is redeemable by existing users too. Promotions of this kind undoubtedly prove an effective marketing tool for Apple, as evidenced by the recent news that Apple Music has amassed 20 million paying subscribers since its summer 2015 launch. Non-paid to paid subscriber conversion rates are clearly impressive, meaning there is true value in offering a gift-card promotion. On a side note, Apple Music’s advertising strategy draws parallels to Beats’ celebrity endorsement strategy. (It is no coincidence that both brands operate under the leadership of music mogul Jimmy Iovine.) In place of the recent trend of partnering with elite-level athletes, the likes of Pharrell Williams and Amber Rose can be seen in Beats X advertisements, essentially to bridge the gap between the two brands.
Beats X Review
Wireless connectivity is important now more than ever due to Apple and other leading manufacturers sacrificing the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack for the sake of innovation. Compared to the competition, Beats X sound great and boast some impressive features, but it is not simply audio quality and features that concern potential Beats customers. In a similar vein to Apple products, a pair of Beats headphones carry a premium that only fashionistas and dedicated fans of the brand will understand. If you are willing to pay the premium, you know you have already made the right choice and what is said here will potentially hold little influence.