Apple to remove Bose audio products from retail stores, sources say

“Apple is preparing to remove all Bose audio products, both demo and sellable, from its retail environment, according to a reliable source who spoke to MacRumors,” Kelly Hodgkins reports for MacRumors.” The inventory change will begin early next week, with instructions for removal being sent to employees in the coming days.”

“The reasons behind this removal were not disclosed, but it is very likely tied to to Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Electronics,” Hodgkins reports. “Bose also has a new sponsorship deal with the National Football League that has seen the league prohibit players from wearing Beats headphones while in the presence of television cameras at practice and on game days. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick defied the ban by wearing bright pink Beats headphones at a postgame press conference last Sunday, a move that saw the league hit Kaepernick with a $10,000 fine.”

Hodgkins reports, “Bose and Beats are also currently embroiled in a patent dispute that has seen Bose file suit against Beats, claiming infringement of five patents related to noise cancelation technology.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s all part of Apple’s sound quality reduction project, codenamed “Tin Ear.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Lynn Weiler,” “Dan K.,” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. “Bose also has a new sponsorship deal with the National Football League that has seen the league prohibit players from wearing Beats headphones while in the presence of television cameras at practice and on game days.”

    This is both wrong and silly IMHO.

    1. It’s neither wrong nor silly. The NFL is a a for-profit entity. As such, they have a right to sell sponsorships and legally monetize as they see fit.

        1. Yes, at the corporate level, the “NFL” (the league itself) is a nonprofit 501(c). Anyone who thinks the NFL isn’t a for-profit enterprise is not from this planet. Obviously, the NFL owners reap the vast amounts of money and pay the players, business costs, taxes, etc.)

          1. The NFL is a non-profit organization, which splits profits between its members (the teams) which are for-profit organizations.

            The NFL is certainly in its right to enter into an exclusive sponsorship contract with Bose, Budweiser, Chevrolet, Papa Johns, or whatever company wants to be the Official XYZ of the NFL.

            Part of those contracts is that employees of the NFL member teams can’t promote non-official brands during specific times. That is what adds value to the exclusivity contract, otherwise the sponsors wouldn’t pay anywhere near as much if Colin Kaepernick was permitted to wear Beats during his interviews.

            The ridiculousness of the $10,000 fine was that the NFL only fined Julius Thomas $8,200 for an illegal chop block, for which he was penalized, that knocked the Cardinals’ Campbell out for 1-3 weeks with a knee injury. It is certainly hypocritical of the NFL to fine a player more for wearing the wrong gear more than a player who almost ended another player’s season.

      1. The NFL is a corporate welfare queen and is deserving of neither our respect or one red cent of public money. They shake down every level of government and corporation they deal with and exploit their players and fans to the last nickel.

        Do your homework and discover the freebies, tax abatements, subsidies, special revenue deals and all the rest that they expect and collect. It costs more than it brings in.

      2. Oh the possibilities for that then, perhaps they can introduce a fire a child from a catapult day to celebrate their singular moral stand on such matters. Can’t wait for them to be sponsored by a Burka manufacturer that has some wonderful possibilities on all those who enter their newly declared Caliphate, hey the precedent has been set now.

      3. Let me explain.

        Wrong: What Bose is telling the world is that in order to get celebrities to use their product they have to pay their bosses to demand that the celebrities can’t use what the headphones they want to use.

        Silly: Because now Beats is getting free publicity due to the fact that this is headline news.

        This is like the Microsoft Surface product placement that backfired on them using the same tactics. It just doesn’t work.

        1. Well, that will be up to Beats management, but it may be the best $10,000 in advertising spent. And they probably should send Kap another few headsets in various styles and colors, complete with $10,000 checks in the box.

    1. How about a public announcement from Apple: “We will double any fines levied on and paid by NFL players while using our products. This includes both headphones and tablet computing devices.”

    1. Do you think that if Apple applied all their expertise into the development of better headphones, you still wouldn’t?

      Like it or not, Beats is a world-wide recognized “brand”. Branding doesn’t come cheap and I would bet Apple knows they can improve the headphones.

    2. Beats produces a specific range of sound aimed at a certain demographic which likes heavy bass, electronic and other generated sound. Typically rap, dance, hip hop, etc. genres. Like all headphones, the sound produced is a compromise. They also add a very stylish appearance unlike other headphone makers (many of which are now copying Beats’ look).

    3. I can assure you that Beats headphones, or at least the Solo HD’s, are really well made and comfortable ‘phones, compromised in their sound by the target market, which listens predominantly to dance/electro/rap, which typically has the emphasis on the bass.
      It takes very little effort to make Beats sound easily as good as a quality earphone like Shure or UE; all you need is an app called EQu, which allows the use of customised frequency curves to alter the characteristics of any ‘phones.
      I bought my Solos for half the price of new ones from eBay, knowing that I could do this, and I’m chuffed to bits with them, they’re comfy and now sound fantastic.
      It won’t take much for Apple to tune them for a different market, in fact a new version has done exactly this.

  2. I think this is an ill-considered response and it opens Apple to accusations of being petty.

    The Bose NFL exclusivity deal is pretty tacky, but I think that Apple would have done better to rise above that and beaten Bose by making Beats even more desirable. There is a strong tradition in the music business for banned music to become even more popular and I think that Beats could have positioned themselves as the subversive option which the NFL are trying to suppress.

    1. Doesn’t that depend? One scenario had this change in showcase planned long before the NFL agreement. Another scenario has the NFL exclusivity agreement in direct violation of the co-marketing agreement between Bose and Apple. A third scenario has Apple responding out of spite. My money is on the first scenario.

  3. Bose doesn’t like the competition so they think by not letting there sponsored players where anything but Bose they will beat the competition. So Apple says screw you go sell your wears somewhere else if you can’t take the competition. I agree with there decision. It’s a free country and sponsor or no sponsor you should be able to use what you like period.

    1. First of all, according to news reports, Bose has nothing to do with the fine — that’s strictly the NFL (though I suspect Bose is not complaining). Second, players are certainly allowed to *use* whatever headphones they like — they just can’t appear in interviews, etc., wearing anything but Bose. If they don’t like that, they are free to stop accepting their paychecks from the NFL. That’s perfectly legitimate business.

      Of course, neither pair of headphones is worth a damn…

  4. Maybe this has something to do with the NFL and Bose contracts. Bose is having a hissy fit and fines anyone seen in Beats headsets on or off the field (see Kaepernick fined by NFL). Anyone notice Beats spent millions of dollars last year advertising during football games and this year they don’t. NFL just lost millions and millions of dollars in advertising revenue by letting Bose dictate what gets shown and what doesn’t. Ask them how that Microsoft Surface sponsorship is working out for them……NOT.

    Before everyone starts commenting about Bose vs Beat let me just say I’m not a fan of Beat’s headphone. I use studio monitor headphones in my business and honestly don’t use either of these brands. I do think the NFL has let their their contracts with “sponsors” get in the way. I think Bose and MS are spending a ton and dictated terms that really won’t pay off for them in the long run. I can only hope that Apple is working on improving the Beat’s headphone and creating a better quality product.

    That’s my 2cents anyway.

    1. It is only the mistaken names and controversy about the Beats fines that made me notice either of these sponsors ob the football game field.

      If that is what it takes, then you almost need to make a stink for any press play.

  5. You all seem to missing the larger issue: Apple retail has limited space available for accessories. This space is reduced as Apple continues to enter new categories. Makes ZERO sense to provide any of that limited space to direct competitors.

  6. the fact that an NFL player cannot wear whatever the f8ck they want is not only anti-captitalistic, it is also anti-choice, degrades the players, and is a small step towards an even smaller world.

  7. I noticed that Harmon Kardon headphones disappeared mysteriously from the Apple Store a while ago. I’m not a headphone fan, all things considered, but the HK Classics were the pair I’d buy, or Sony MDRs. Certainly not Beats or Bose, as I listen to classical and jazz almost exclusively, and need accuracy, not additives.

  8. Bose knew that Beats exposure on the sidelines was prime competition for mindshare. Turn around is fair play so Apple may have the last laugh. Think how much consumer traffic passes through Apple retail stores. These are people who are willing to spend money and the stores are places you can try on a pair of Bose headphones. It is interesting that there is no mention of removing other brands like B&W…

  9. Huge mistake, if true. I use nothing but Bose speakers with my computer. Apple should have purchased Bose instead of the LoFi Beats when they had a chance. Porsche uses Bose in their cars. Bad move.

    1. So what if Porsche use Bose. I’d have them taken out and something like B&W, Naim or Infinity Kappas put in.
      People who buy real hifi equipment wouldn’t touch Bose, it’s aimed at the middle-class who only want the pose value, in the same way Bang & Olufsen did.
      It’s there to avoid having awkward silences during dinner parties, not to really *listen* to and enjoy music.

      1. So what if Porsche uses Bose? You know damn well what that means. It means Bose must at least have the ability to meet Porsche specifications, that’s what. Bose may make a full range of stuff from junk to high end, but you already knew that, didn’t you? I recommend you stick to blind listening tests rather than insinuating that brand name is all one needs to know. By the way, B&O is much more impressive than Beats because, like Apple, they have worked extremely hard to achieve sound quality from super tiny enclosures, and also using the highest quality materials. Beats, on the other hand, spent all its money marketing overpriced plastic Chinese-made junk. Apple would have to pay me $10k to put a pair of Beats cans around my neck during a post-game interview.

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