A rumor circulated a little over a year ago that Apple was trying to phase out the Beats brand in favor of its own-brand headphones and speakers. That hasn't happened, and Apple seems to have been doing just the opposite behind the scenes.
There were a lot of rumors about Apple's headphones strategy floating around in early 2020. This was before the announcement of the AirPods Max, and the gossip mill was already referring to "AirPods Lite" And then there's "AirPods X" for good measure. Apple was reportedly working on a variety of headphones, all of which will be branded with the Apple logo.
Another rumor surfaced at the same time, claiming that Apple's activities in the headphones room were all intended to help move away from and eventually phase out the Beats brand. Apple, on the other hand, was swift to dismiss those points. One year later, the Beats brand is still going strong, with no indication that Apple intends to do away with the iconic logo.
Phasing out, except...
Apple paid a lot of money for Beats a long time ago, so it's not a small business that can be quickly swallowed up by the Apple brand like so many others. It's regarded as a cultural symbol in many circles, so it's only natural to keep it alive.
Apple can also assist in certain areas, thanks to features such as the W1 chip. Beats is still a separate company, but it's clearly under Apple's umbrella, which means significant changes to certain aspects of the headphones.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple has recruited a veteran of the Android hardware design room to assist with this. Scott Croyle, a new director at Apple, is rumored to be the point of touch between Beats and Ammunition, a hardware design company.
Beats has used Ammunition as a design company for years, and the study suggests that the relationship between the two companies will not be changing anytime soon. Croyle's design experience, on the other hand, is expected to filter down into potential products.
Observing the horizon
Croyle's experience has been incorporated into a number of devices. He spent a long time at HTC, where he worked on devices like the Android-based One M7 and One M8.
He left HTC to work on a completely different phone, the Nextbit Robin, which was eventually purchased by Razer, a gaming PC company. According to the original paper, Croyle went on to found Attic, a new design company.
Croyle has since entered Apple's ranks and is now reportedly assisting in the creation of the next generation of Beats products. There's no word about when those new devices will be out, but according to the article, Beats is working on new speakers and headphones.
There is plenty of demand on the market for both Apple and Beats headphones. Both companies' designs are somewhat different, and Beats will work on big partnerships with organizations like FaZe Clan and Psychworld, which Apple is unlikely to do with its own goods. The Beats Flex wireless headphones were a hit for Beats, while Apple's AirPods are a hit.
Basically, it's a win-win situation for Apple.