When it was announced that Apple was buying Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics—which also included Dre’s oft-maligned streaming service, Beats Music—for $3 billion, the consensus was confusion. Beats had yet to be valued at such a cost, and the quality of its headphones (as well as that streaming service) had proven sorely lacking. But now Forbes speculates that one of the real reasons behind the deal was that Apple is plotting to do away with traditional headphone jacks on its products, replacing them with its proprietary Lightning port.
As much as this sounds like a predatory scheme on Apple’s part (because it kind of is), the rationale is that the Lightning port would offer higher-quality audio for users willing to pay a premium price for headphones. Eventually, it would also allow them to use those headphones to do more than just skip tracks and increase volume, and control other applications as well. Another potential perk would be the Lightning port’s ability to have headphones charge a device while in use—though it’s difficult right now to determine just how effective such a method might be.
The source of all this speculation comes from a leak following Apple’s request to its MFi licensing program for headphones with Lightning port specifications. And though it will likely be a while before any such products hit the market, it could definitely explain Apple’s acquisition of Beats. Though, this could also just be very expensive revenge, after Apple heard the public laughing about all the money it gave to Dr. Dre.