The purchase of Beats by Apple is such an obvious and welcome development, I'm only really surprised that in the end it was Beats. As an ex-audiophile, I have been waiting for this move for quite some time and what sticks out in my mind primarily is the manufacturing facilities that this purchase entails.
Apple already has made the claim that it is one of the world's largest producers of small magnets of the sort required for headphones. Beats started day one with the premise that most consumer headphones were ridiculous and unable to reproduce the serious bass a studio musician in hiphop needs to hear. Dre would know. More than any other figure, he made the leap from music to film and is basically the man who got hiphop soundtracks in hundreds of films starting in the mid 90s. By the time Space Jam made it all silly in 1998, Dre was already floating in millions. And ultimately Beats have been a huge success in the market.
So how seriously is Apple going to take the potential for a new digital standard and higher quality audio electronics in its product offerings? I find it difficult to believe that the iTunes store would offer FLAC over its own AAC format at a premium price, but it could happen. I find it less difficult to believe that Apple would move towards hi-fidelity electronics attached to Apple TV and the Mac Pro. Once again, Apple is capable of being everything Sony once was when it comes to manufacturing consumer electronics. Some of that *must* be high end.
Bang & Olafson, Jambox, Beats and a host of other manufacturers have made serious middlebrow efforts to capture the outputs of the revolution in digital music that is sourced from iPhones and iPods. The markup on some of these products is ridiculous. In that crowded market, Beats subsumed into Apple can win big.
So now we have to start dealing with Apple like Kodak. If Kodak film begat a whole ecosystem of products, so will Apple digital music. None of this seemed probable in 1995. It is now inevitable. Too bad for Sonos and Nest.