Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine isn't a fan of Apple's iconic white earbuds. On stage at Code Conference minutes ago, Iovine had harsh words for the pack-ins, saying that Apple — the company he will soon work for — makes them simply "to make sure the machine [iPhone] works." But he wasn't done there. "You listen to Apocalypse Now, and the helicopter sounds like a mosquito," he added. Iovine thinks Beats has done better than Apple (and every other headphone manufacturer) in this department. "We turned an entire generation on to audio," he proudly proclaimed. Putting sound quality aside, Beats' sales numbers and the prevalence of red headphone cables on every street corner both suggest he's not wrong.
Apple SVP Eddy Cue, who also appeared on stage, almost seemed to agree with Iovine's take. "We make the best headphones that come in the box," he jokingly confessed. "When you want to make incredible sound, it costs more money." The white earbuds that accompanied iPods and early iPhones for years were admittedly terrible, but the company did improve things somewhat with the EarPods introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012. It even showcased them with a dedicated video, complete with a grandiose Jony Ive voiceover. "Sound is so important to the way you experience an Apple product," the design chief said then. What was Ive most proud of? Their "rich, powerful bass." In other words, the exact same thing Beats headphones are known for.
But apparently Iovine remains unimpressed. No word yet on how he feels about Apple's $79 in-ear headphones.