You can't buy Bose products from Apple's online store anymore. As spotted by 9to5Mac, headphones from Bose's QuietComfort series and speakers including the SoundLink Mini and SoundLink III have completely vanished from Apple's web storefront. A search for "Bose" now points you to refurbished Apple routers and other non-related items. Presumably Bose's lineup will soon make an exit from retail stores, if products haven't been pulled down from shelves already. The abrupt disappearance comes amid a growing rivalry between Apple, which now owns Beats headphones, and Bose, another headphone manufacturer. Last week, MacRumors reported that Apple would soon remove all things Bose from its shelves. And now it's happened.
Before today, Apple had been a Bose retail partner for several years. (Simon A / Flickr)
Starting with the 2014 NFL season, Bose has secured a high-profile sponsorship deal with the league that's seen Beats' recognizable gear banned from game day interviews and other on-camera appearances. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined $10,000 this month for wearing Beats headphones and has since come up with an old-fashioned workaround to avoid further penalties.
There was also a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, but the two companies quickly settled out of court. Even so, the end of a fairly long retail relationship between Apple and Bose would indicate that things are getting worse, not better. It's also disappointing for consumers, since Bose offers some genuinely fantastic products like the SoundLink Mini. (And yes, the headphones have earned good reviews thanks mostly to class-leading noise cancellation.) Apple's stores attract just the type of customer that Bose is after, so it's no small loss for the company. Other high-end headphones from the likes of Sennheiser and Bowers & Wilkins remain available at the Apple Store. For now, there's always Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and other retailers if you're looking for Bose. We've reached out to both Apple and Bose for statements on the situation.