Apple bought Beats, but are they going to pay for it down the road too?

Will rumoured proprietary headphones spell the end of the road for the love affair between consumers and Apple?

Apple’s purchase of headphone maker and music streamer Beats has been widely reported recently, with a tremendous amount of speculation on why Apple made the purchase. Some of the early betting was on Apple taking Beats’ streaming music service and using the technology to improve lackluster Apple’s iTunes radio.

The sale struck me as odd, but only slightly so. The two companies seem very similar in the sense that they both do a tremendous job of focusing on style, design, and image. And I don’t mean that as an insult as some people do. Apple’s products are some of the best designed on the market, so people justifiably like to show them off – and making them part of their own personal style in the process. People can relate with a company that focuses so much on creating such beautifully built products.

But there’s a new rumour out that would mean the end of the road for me and Apple products. Now pundits are suggesting Beats wasn’t just bought for their streaming music service, and that Apple intends to build headphones with Beats, which also sounded like a good thing at first since Apple’s stock headphones are notoriously bad.

But then new rumours started to swirl saying the new headphones would use Apple’s proprietary lightning connector instead of a standard  headphone connector. The stated reason is to improve audio quality – but let’s be honest. Apple isn’t going to fool anyone with that: if they go this route, the sole reason is to build another, very steep wall to keep people in the Apple ecosystem.

For a lot of consumers I believe if they go this route it will be the last straw. There is only so much you can do to consumers to lock them in to your products before they revolt, and this will be it for me. I think consumers will put up with a lot to be able to enjoy good products, but this is too much. Asking me to pay for new headphones when I have great ones already, or making me pay a lot for a big bulky adapter just to be able to use an Apple phone or tablet is just too much. There’s a point where you can push consumers too far and ask too much of them, and I believe this would be it.

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