Will Apple improve Beats Audio?

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Beats Audio by Dr. Dre is a great example of style and brand can trump product details. Of course quality matters even in the headphones business, but the opinion of audiophiles regarding sound quality isn’t going to impact 15-year-old kids on what they determine to be cool.

The cool factor propelled the Beats brand and ultimately made Dr. Dre a billionaire with Apple’s acquisition of his company. This is a perfect compliment to iTunes and the iPhone, but it will be interesting to see if Apple applies some of its billions to also improve the quality of the product.

Tony Fadell on the iPod, Kickstarter, Nest, Steve Jobs and more

Tony Fadell has a very interesting background, and he’s very knowledgeable about the process of creating great hardware and gadgets. In this excellent interview with Kevin Rose, Fadell discusses a wide variety of topics that would be helpful and interesting to entrpreneurs or anyone who loves gadgets.

He explains the value of Nest and where the company is going in the future. He gives some background on his role in the creation of the iPod and his work with Steve Jobs. And he also addresses some of the challenges of trying to create a hardware company using Kickstarter. Listen to his discussion of the power of saying no and the need for simplicity in products.

Check it out, and you can follow him on Twitter here.

Remembering Steve Jobs and the Mac

We’re coming up on the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh computer and a writer from Rolling Stone has uncovered the full transcript of an interview he conducted with Steve Jobs two months before the release of the computer. It’s classic Steve Jobs with some incredible quotes. Check it out.

March Madness drives app innovation

Most of us love tournament madness. I remember being in Las Vegas for the NCAA tournament, and I had Kentucky +8 against Duke, even though I was rooting for the Blue Devils. I was in the Caesars Palace sports book, which at the time was basically a mecca for sports and betting fans. I couldn’t lose my bet as the game was so close, and then I was able to witness Christian Leattner’s epic game-winning shot that will be remembered for as long as kids play basketball.

That’s why we love March Madness. Last night gave us another glimpse, particularly for us Ohio State fans, as LaQuinton Ross hit a three at the end of regulation to give the Buckeyes the win over Arizona. The Buckeyes have now done this two games in a row, so I suspect that more and more fans will be tuning in to their games.

Events like this can now be experienced in so many new ways with apps and devices. You can’t replicate what I experienced in Las Vegas, but you can create incredible experiences as these games play out. That’s why we have an explosion of apps built around the NCAA tournament which drives incredible innovation that can spill over to other areas. If you want to enter a pool, like to bet on March Madness, challenge your friends or just see the drama in real time, there are tons of apps out there that will let you do so.

The key is that in today’s world, content drives more content. Derivative activities like pools and betting can thrive around sporting events, but also television like contest shows. That’s why we’re also seeing an explosion of interactive TV around apps as well.

Get ready for more and more ways to enjoy this stuff, though the drama of seeing games unfold in real time still has to be the best way to enjoy these events.

Choosing the right tablet when doing your holiday shopping

Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to much fanfare and the product took off and started a whole new product category, the market has been flooded with competing products as the country has basically gone tablet crazy. Even young kids basically expect some sort of tablet these days, making things very tough on parents trying to monitor what they do online. People of all ages enjoy these devices as they can be used for so many different purposes, and computer companies like HP that didn’t come up with a good competing product are getting crushed as PC and laptop sales have struggled.

With all of this in mind, here’s a great article from the NY Times that lays out many of the different options. For starters, you should simply avoid the ultra-cheap knockoff options. It’s tempting to go that way, but in many ways you’ll be wasting money.

After that you really need to consider who will be using the tablet. Kids are obsessed with games and texting. Many women and adults like to read books. Others like to surf the web for funny videos, interact with others in social media, play casino games at sites like partycasino.com, or just read the sports page. Some on your gift list may not use computers much, so you sometimes need to think about how they would love to use these devices once you point out uses for them.

E-readers have become more popular and frankly more articles, so the article linked about deals with those options as well. Consider traditional e-readers versus the new color options. Then you have the most basic choice between Apple and Android. Microsoft has also entered the debate though it remains to be seen if they can get beyond a sliver of the market.

There are tons of choices, so do your research online before you hit the stores.