Jimmy Iovine brings his own brand of ‘reality distortion field’ to Apple

“It had been only four hours since Jimmy Iovine had agreed to sell Beats Electronics to Apple for $3 billion, but it was clear that he had already gotten the corporate memo,” Vindu Goel reports for The New York Times. “‘I’m at Apple now. I can’t say anything,’ he told a crowd of technology executives Wednesday night at the Code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., referring to Apple’s famously tight-lipped culture. But it was also clear that for Mr. Iovine — as for the late Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs — rules are made to be broken.”

“During an hour-plus conversation with the journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, with the Apple executive Eddy Cue at his side, Mr. Iovine proceeded to speak his mind about a lot of things,” Goel reports. “The free earbuds that come with every Apple iPhone? Awful. ‘You listen to ‘Apocalypse Now’ and a helicopter sounds like a mosquito,’ he said.”

MacDailyNews Take: One thing’s for sure: Jimmy is an absolute expert in awful-sounding headphones.

By the way, the most important and powerful person at Apple, Jony Ive, will just love that comment. That’s right, Jony, the results of all of your work: Awful.

Here’s Jony waxing lyrical about Apple’s EarPods:

“Sound is so important to the way that you experience an Apple product, so we wanted to make a headphone that was absolutely the very best it could be,” so that the Hollywood huckster responsible for the worst-sounding, most-overpriced headphones ever made could call them “awful” four hours after we paid him $3 billion.

“The Beats partnership with Hewlett-Packard? A marriage of convenience that will be terminated when the contract is up. ‘Computers are made for talk,’ he said. Aside from Apple, ‘every other computer sounds like a portable television.’ Beats struck the HP deal, he said, to make Dell jealous enough to improve the sound of its computer speakers,” Goel reports. “Hollywood? ‘Desperately insecure.’ Silicon Valley? ‘Overconfident.’ Uh, did anyone tell Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, that Mr. Iovine, a music mogul with an impressive track record, was going to be a little hard to control?”

“Mr. Iovine’s irrepressible spirit — and his willingness to simply declare something to be reality regardless of the complexity of the facts — bears a marked resemblance to the ‘reality distortion field’ that Mr. Jobs so famously emanated,” Goel reports. “Indeed, Mr. Iovine appears to recognize that bluster is part of his business magic. He said that Beats spent ‘zero dollars’ on marketing during its first three years, relying solely on media attention and product placements to build its sales to $500 million. ‘We knew how to harness the media,’ he said. Mr. Jobs would have been proud.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not all RDFs are created equal. Be careful, Jimmy. There’s a fine line between operating a functional RDF and a dump truck full of bullshit.


      1. When I compare other acquisitions that Apple has made, and the clear technological potential they bring to the table to this deal where there is little or no real technological innovation, it is all about connections and hype, and celebrity, and style and trend….. I just come away incredibly confused. Does Apple respect their roots as a technology company, or are they caught up in image and celebrity status. Why pay a 6 time multiple to obtain the services of a couple celebrities compared to some of the incredibly important technology acquired in many other purchases?

          1. After several days of posting like a reasonable human being, botvijerk is back to his shrivel-hearted poisonous self. Can’t seem to keep it under control for very long.

  1. Jimmy isn’t wrong when he says the Apple earbuds are awful, but he is ignoring, or choosing to ignore, the complexity of facts behind them.

    Apple earbuds – because they’re meant for worldwide mass market – have to comply with a series of regulations and regulatory expectations, going from the very simple safety regulation of not blocking external sound entirely, dB restrictions imposed by for example EU law and even expectation that come from studies linking school performance with loud noise. (see http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/hearing-loss-personal-music-player-mp3/l-3/10-health-effects-sound.htm#0p0 to read about more sh** the EU comes up with 🙂

    Apple would be in serious legal hot water if _more_ careless pedestrians got killed crossing the streets with Apple earphones on.

        1. My father was always careful to sound out both sibilants, fixing the gimlet eye on his disputant as he did so. A most useful countermeasure to outright folly, as he put it

      1. It was never Forstall or Cook, it was Forstall or Ive.

        Of course if you actually LIKE fake green baize and fake wood all over your interface then of course you’ll love Forstall’s work. Personally I hated it and am glad it’s gone.

      1. Excellent point! Great stuff. But what a naff thing to do, dissing Apple’s EarPods. Poorly done and an ignorant opinion. I’m betting he had not a clue what he was talking about, thinking he was describing the original Apple ear buds, which were indeed craptastic. NOT an Apple thing to do, so says Ms. Etiquette Esq.

  2. I had my kids going out and buying really expensive earbuds….in the $270 dollar range, Four of them! A few months later they are all wearing the $30 Apple earbuds.

    The latest ear buds are the BEST!!!

    1. The thing about earbuds is that you can chuck them in a bag, carry them around in your pocket, even lose them, and you really don’t care too much if they get lost or damaged, since they’re less than £25 to replace. They’re decent enough considering the price, and of course there are much better cans out there, but for everyday use they do their job well.

      1. I think you hit the difference nail on the head there – it is about buds vs. cans. Earbuds, even “good” ones, will never measure up to even cheap cans. They just don’t move enough air. I’ll admit that they’re better than I would have expected 15 years ago, but still don’t do the job of cans.

  3. I wonder if the next step in headphone development for Apple is not about quality. Maybe Apple needs to rethink headphones if they want to integrate them into a health/fitness sensor system. Perhaps larger headphones would be more accurate for sensing, and since apple has never made a foray into larger headphones, they acquired a company that had made large cool for more people. Apple could take the beats successful brand and morph it into an apple look while adding sensors. If they are interested in Beats electronics as well as streaming, there has to be more to it than trying to improve on the current earbuds, especially if the audio quality of both are sub par.

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