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On Tuesday, Beats Electronics principals Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Luke Wood, along with Monster Cable Products’ Noel Lee, gathered before the media in a sleek Manhattan showroom to present the “Beats Holiday ’11 Product Showcase.” Bathed in dramatic red lighting, the four showed videos and spoke about their coming new products (not surprisingly, Iovine did almost all of the talking; Dre barely said a word).
During the conversation, which was hosted by MTV News’ Sway, three new products were unveiled: New colors for the standard headphones — pink, orange, purple, blue and grey ($350, due in stores next week); a Beats Wireless Solo Bluetooth model (due next month, no price yet); the “Portable Beat Box,” with built-in bluetooth; and special DJ headphones (both due for the holidays, no price yet). They also announced a Beats by Dr. Dre pop-up store, which will be located on Mercer Street in Manhattan and will be open through the holiday season.
The Portable Beat Box dock looks similar to the earlier models but now is a little sleeker and comes in white, as well while offering eight “loud” hours of wireless play. The DJ headphones are similar to the Solo headphones but have the new addition of a swivel unit near the speaker, so a DJ can move it away from their ear without having to move the whole unit.
The biggest news however, given the company’s emphasis on sound quality, was Beats release of wireless headphones, which can sync with iPods, iPhones, iPads and other devices.
“Wireless usually sounds like a transistor radio,” Wood said. “Ours sound like Beats headphones, which is a big accomplishment.”
During the introduction, Iovine spoke of the hurdles Beats had overcome in putting together the product. “Dre didn’t care if the [wireless] headphones ever came out at all,” he said, referring to the long time it took to perfect the wireless technology. “He wanted us to prove wireless to him.” They’d made it clear if they didn’t believe in their wireless technology, they would have waited even longer.
Iovine said the company expects revenues above $500 million, and addressed the problems it has had with counterfeit products. “If it’s sitting on a blanket on the sidewalk, it’s probably not Beats by Dre,” he said.
During the introduction, he also shared the story of how Beats by Dre got started. “I was walking down the beach, you know, and when I ran into Dre and Dre choose his words carefully and he just said to me, ‘Hey man, my lawyer wants me to sell sneakers,’ and I looked at him straight and I said to him, ‘Fuck sneakers, let’s sell speakers,’ and he said, ‘Oh man, that sounds right.”
After the unveiling conference the nattily-dressed event staff swung open large doors, revealing a showroom filled with the new products, which were available for everyone to test.
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