Is this the end of the Apple brand as we know it?

“Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats has gotten many people wondering if the Apple brand is as strong as it once was,” Denise Lee Yohn writes for Forbes. “Some see the surprising move as a significant departure from the strategy that has built Apple into the one of the greatest brands of all time and they consider it a proof point of the decline of the Apple brand cachet.”

“The Beat deal is also surprising because it installs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre as key players in the newly combined organization,” Yohn writes. “Apple’s brand equity used to bank heavily on one person, Steve Jobs – and all other key players, even current CEO Tim Cook, were considered insiders, Steve’s disciples. With the addition of such high profile outsiders, the brand seems to have lost the tie to Jobs and the purity and commitment to ‘Steve’s way.'”

“On the other hand, though, the acquisition may not be all that much of a change for the Apple brand. Apple achieved brand supremacy when integration became a core business driver. iTunes first revolutionized music by integrating content with hardware and software. Then the iPhone revolutionized communications by integrating hardware and software (apps). Now this Beats development is likely to create an equally disruptive change by integrating content with wearable hardware and personalized service,” Yohn writes. “Perhaps there isn’t as much cause for concern over the Apple brand – at least not in the near term. The biggest question mark the Beats deal raises is really about corporate culture. No longer is the leader of the company like a rock star – the company actually has two rock stars on its payroll. And no longer are the designers and engineers the cool kids on the block. Content may actually become king. It’s unclear if Apple employees will be as inspired by Iovine and Dre, and it they will play by their visions and along with their teams.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Since mostly young people wear those monstrosities, I see this as a nod to the younger generation of consumers of Apple products. But, like most other accessories, over time, these will probably fade out as another fad.

    1. As much as I would have liked Rap to be a fad, it has proven more resilient that I would have ever expected. But just because I don’t like that genera of music, it does not preclude it from having value to others.

    2. What, like iPods, iPhones, iPads, etc?
      Beats ‘phones are popular in part because of the Dre connection, but I often see people wearing them who clearly aren’t into the rap culture, but have bought them because of the way they look, and they are stylish headphones; take off the Beats logos, etc, and they still look good, especially compared to others on the market.
      They also have a number of features that are highly desirable, at least on the more expensive Solo HD model; in particular a cable that is easily detached and is cheaply replaced if it breaks, plus replaceable ear-pads, and the headband padding.
      The downside, at least up until now, is the sound, which is very muffled and ‘wooly’ sounding, mainly because the primary style of music they’re designed for comes from the ‘World of Doof’ ™, where detailed vocals are unimportant.
      The new Solo 2 model appears to rectify this, for more general music styles.
      I recently bought a pair of Solo HD’s, knowing the sound was crap, but knowing I could fix it easily with an app, EQu, and by lifting the very bottom end, and lifting the top end from around 750Hz upwards, the difference is amazing.
      I love them to bits, on all kinds of music*, so with attention to the sound, Beats ‘phones are really not the disaster that many on here believe them to be.
      *Rock, folk, indie, country, electro…
      I’m comparing them to Shure and Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors, not cheap free earphones.

      1. I would disagree you can fix bad sounding cans. You can mask bad quality but not fix it. At the price of Beats cans there are better choice if sound quality is important.

  2. Utter gibberish. So Apple’s brand relied on one guy, who died back in 2011.. oh, actually it wasn’t one guy it was one guy and a few other ‘key players’… you mean, just like every other company in the world?

    F off, Denise. You made your quota.

      1. I always like the “fill in the blanks” exercise myself.

        “Is This the End of the Apple Brand As We Know It?”: No but it’s not even the end of the Beats brand as we know it. It’s the end of any sense of credibility towards Denise Lee Yohn, not that the had that for long.

  3. If Dr. Dre was a white rock artist with lyrical content just as violent and misogynistic as his slated rhymes, none of these questions would appear. This crap strictly revolves around the idea of Apple welcoming a black rap artist into their inner sanctum. You’d think Dr. Dre was a convicted felon with a violent past. This man is only guilty of expressing himself in a profane manner when he was young and capitalizing on a movement to achieve the American dream. He hasn’t killed or raped anyone. He is a good man with a family who’s said and done some regrettable things but nobody among us is any different.

    1. The questions raised in the article are valid.
      Blowing $3b on a talentless NWM is not what anyone could call confidence inspiring.
      Put that cretin next to guys like MJ, or old schoolers like Rick Wakeman, Satriani, Tony Banks, Geddy, Bono or heck *anyone* with real talent and you get the picture.
      This is proof Cook is visionless.

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