'Looks By Dr. Dre'

Khoi Vinh, commenting on the fashionable aspect of Beats headphones:

If you take a look at Beats’ headphones product catalog, it looks a lot closer to, say, the Nixon watches catalog than any catalog of technology products. Beats’ headphones, like Nixon’s watches, are oriented such that the primary selection criteria are looks and style; you’ve got to wade through those before you decide which model you want. By contrast, on Apple’s site, you’ve got to choose your model before you can choose your style—or, put another way, you choose what you want it do, first, and then you get to choose what you want it to look like. These differences reflect fundamentally distinct ways of thinking about products, or more importantly, fundamentally distinct ways of thinking about what customers want. One path leads to a company that makes technology that (they hope) consumers will find to be fashionable; the other path leads to a company that makes fashionable goods powered by technology. Apple acquired Beats because it hopes that its future will look more like the latter than the former. I was in Target last night, and noticed the Beats display in the electronics section is positioned near Apple stuff (e.g., iPads, iPods). I don't see this as coincidental --- both brands evoke status and style, and consumers know it. Thus, it's unsurprising to hear that Apple plans to operate Beats as an independent subsidiary, at least for the foreseeable future. It makes sense, given Beats immense brand credibility with people. (via John Gruber)