Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine says Apple headphones are crap while sitting next to Apple's Eddy Cue

The announcement that Apple was buying Beats for $3 billion was still hanging in the air last night as Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple's Eddy Cue took the stage at Re/Code's Code Conference, and the two wasted no time in making sure the buzz around the deal continued. But, the quote of the night came from Jimmy Iovine himself, talking about Apple's headphones.

Iovine essentially said that Apple's headphones are crap added to the package only "to make sure the machine works." He went on to be a bit more descriptive, saying "You listen to Apocalypse Now, and the helicopter sounds like a mosquito". Of course, Iovine also took a little time to credit his own company (somewhat hyperbolically, we think) by saying, "We turned an entire generation on to audio". That seems a bit extreme, but it is hard to argue with Beats' sales record, which some industry analysts have pegged at about $1 billion per year. 

For his part, Apple's Eddy Cue was less buzz-worthy, but still had some good information to provide. He denied the idea that Apple bought Beats for the "cool" factor, and confirmed that the purchase was made for the talent (Dre and Iovine), the headphones, and the subscription service. Cue was very optimistic about the partnership (as you would expect from an Apple rep), saying that bringing together the two companies would create "something much more than" two plus two equaling four. But, Cue also couldn't help straying into the possibly hyperbolic by claiming that the Apple and Beats pairing would be able to help music grow again, changing the current downward trend in the industry. 

No doubt, Apple and Beats will be a powerful pairing, but we'd prefer to wait and see before making bold claims like that. 

source: Re/Code via AppleInsider



1. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Well... Not to say that Beats headphones are spectacular or anything but he's definitely not lying about Apple earbuds. I've always hated Apple's earbuds from the design that hurts your ears and just don't quite fit right to the sound quality. Now, they'll just have a crap ton more bass... =/

6. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

The newer generation are better but the first gen earbuds sucked badly. They were about style more than audio quality, and Apple nailed it that way. Can't fault Lovine, he was right and bold enough to say it to their face.

19. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea but its just a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Beats headphones are notoriously bad quality wise and are just about the brand name, same as apples. This isn't respectable (definitely bold because of the irony) in the least because you're calling out someone else for the same faults you have.

22. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I wonder how long Iovine lasts at Apple? Iovine has never been one to hold back, which doesn't fit well with the Apple corporate culture. If nothing else, the next six to eighteen months will be entertaining to watch. I suspect Iovine is gone from Apple within twenty-four months.

23. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Well, it doesn't fit well with the Apple corporate culture unless your name is Steve Jobs. Half Life 3 --er-- Apple's next CEO confirmed!

26. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

I've been wondering that too, he doesn't look like the typical Apple exec by any means. Then again, Cook isn't Jobs so who knows how this pans out. My guess is if he doesn't fit in, he'll work "remotely" for a specified time then quietly be shown the door in a mutually agreeable separation.

29. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I doubt he will last long, since they got rid of Forestall right after Jobs' death because of the one thing that Jobs himself would never do, which is apologize for his decisions. Apple literally never said sorry for anything they ever did until that point because they believed they did it for the right reasons. Apple maps may have been rushed, but Jobs wouldn't actually think of it as a mistake, otherwise the first iPhone would have required an insane apology for being a buggy mess. He went with it, gave it time, and it became their best product to date, which Cook and crew can't do because they don't take chances. The new moto isn't think different, its change nothing.

25. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Well, he is coming from the side of being purchased, so I'm sure he feels like Apple thought more of his product than their own so he can be bold about it.

31. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Once a Beats user has tried real headphones (Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, etc) then they realize they could have spent the same or even less and gotten much higher quality audio while still having bass response. Beats pale in comparison to even midrange Beyerdynamic cans. But as long as the kids think they look cool wearing Beats, then they will sell. These days it's all about the image and what's trending.

42. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

True... beats is also bad, only build quality is good and price is high but the sound quality sucks, same like apple

10. dontneedtoknow

Posts: 158; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

I agree. I prefer Samsung's earphones over apple's.

32. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

I'd take a $20 pair of Klipsch or Sony earbuds over Samsung, Apple or Beats earbuds... In that order... lol

38. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

IMO their old earbuds (not Earpods) fit perfectly, they were just too expensive.

39. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

He's right bout Apple head phones are crap. but forget to mention BEATS head phones are even more crappier.

41. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

This guy didnt afraid to tell the truth about apple...

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Beats are way overpriced. The only prositive I can see out of this is combining the Beats music service with iTunes Radio.

3. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Just like Beats' headphones too. All crap crap crap

14. Tsoliades

Posts: 228; Member since: Dec 22, 2012

Apple bought a company that makes expensive, stylish garbage, just like them! How perfect. Seriously though, Beats sound horrific. Get a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50X.

17. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

iPads are garbage? MacBook Pros are garbage? iPods are garbage? Funny you say this because they're the most popular in their respectable categories.

24. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I'd say ipods are garbage.. a super gimped iphone. They only idevice that is focused on music that is Okay is the Nano cause its really small and portable.

28. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

As a previous owner of two iPods, I agree. I thought they were great until I purchased a Cowon player. iPods are great for the general masses but for audiophiles, there plenty of better players out there.

35. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

iPods are overpriced and a causalty of low price android devices. I still have my iPod Touch 4G and plan to keep it. Howver, I saw no reason to buy the iPod Touch 5G with the larger screen and better camera. It was simply over-priced given what a $79 android device can do today. Right now the Exceed 2 (on Verizon prepaid, but no need to get celluar service) costs $49 at Best Buy on sale -- you get wifi, 5 MP camera, big screen, etc. The only reason for me to buy the iPod Touch 5G is for iOS and to continue to use my iOS apps, and I could NOT justify the $220 premium -- $299 vs $79. The difference is too great and helps explain why iPod sales are imploding.

30. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1777; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

And so are McDonalds burgers. The arguement that if things are popular means that they cant be crap is getting old.

36. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

McDonald burgers cost $1 -- iPhones without subsidies go for say $750. More people can afford $1 burgers. I like to see you and you friends walk into an Apple store and pick up a couple of unsubsidied iPhones like the way you and your friends buy $1 burgers. It's not even close.

43. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Why? Garbage cant be popular? sometime prostitutes are popular too, can we say that they are better than normal girls?

21. jibraihimi

Posts: 816; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Your comment looks more like the case of sour grapes, than any genuine comment...... I agree apple products are way overpriced........ but calling them garbage, you must be out of your mind........I think apple provide best experience to its users, and their ecosystem is well planned, and performs very well for their users.......Though closed ecosystem makes it less attractive to me and many other people out there, but there are many people who just want their smartphones to do the work for them when they want it, they don't want to change or customize their phone much, and for them apple devices are very good option............

44. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Prostitues also provide good experience to their customers but also rip off their pockets

40. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Crappity Crap crap crap iBeats.

4. uchihakurtz

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

That's rude, at least be a little polite like " it's unapologetically crap" .

5. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

iPod/iPhone headphones aren't quite as bad as ones you pick up at a gas station for $5, but they're not much better. A $10 pair of Sony earbuds aren't exactly Sennheisers, but they're way better iCrap.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.