The $3 billion missing element from Apple's big reveal

Amidst the giant iPhones, flashy mobile payments scheme, and controversial Apple Watch, one thing stood out by its absence.

beats hero

Apple's big announcement Tuesday morning created so much to talk about that it's hardly surprising that no one seemed to notice one of the biggest recent additions to the company's lineup generated not even a whisper.

Back in May, Apple announced a $3 billion deal to buy Beats Music and Beats Electonics. At the time, the deal was heralded as a triple-threat winner for the folks in Cupertino: 1) acqui-hiring Jimmy Iovine, 2) Adding great headphones to the company's product line up, and 3) "Subscription music done right."

See also: Why Apple’s $3 billion Beats deal still doesn’t make any sense

Well, maybe so, maybe not, but none of those three reasons generated so much as a peep on Tuesday. Beats played absolutely zero role in all the hoopla.

Mr. Iovine was nowhere to be seen, although he did once produce records for U2, who played the event. Oh, and that new U2 album Apple is giving away?Songs of Innocence is on iTunes, not Beats Music.

What about those cool new iPhone 6 models? Did they get fancy new Beats headphones? Nope. No mention of new headphones at all, much less anything to do with Beats. Apple’s iPhone 6 page shows the same old earbuds that Iovine has publicly disparaged.

The Beats Watch?

In fact, the only thing Beats-like I could find in the whole event came in the clunky, boxy shape of the Apple Watch. Who knows, maybe Apple thought that since lots of people seem perfectly happy to wear giant plastic cans on their heads in public, they’ll also be willing to wear giant (mostly plastic) boxes on their wrists? With that aesthetic, maybe it would help if they branded it the Beats Watch instead of the Apple Watch? (I’m only half kidding…)

Does this mean Apple will never do anything with Beats? Of course, not.

Apple has the resources to be as patient as it wants to be, and Beats is still new to the fold. But I do think it’s significant that in Apple’s biggest event in years, Beats was completely invisible.  We still have no idea why Apple actually bought Beats, and what role it will play in Apple’s future products and branding. That can’t be a positive sign, can it?

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