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Steve Jobs Biographer Reveals Surprising Reason Apple Really Wants Beats

by Brandon Russell | May 19, 2014May 19, 2014 2:30 pm PST

Jimmy Iovine

Apple’s biggest reason for acquiring Beats won’t be for music, over-hyped accessories, or even its share of Android users. While speculation over the company’s rumored purchase is still iron-hot, Steve Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson, decided to chime in with his two cents. Apple’s alleged purchase, according to Isaacson, is actually for video—more specifically Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, who is described as an instrumental figure in Apple’s history.

“Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video,” said Billboard, who spoke to Isaacson directly. “He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple’s content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years.”

Aside from Apple’s entry into health, the Cupertino company has been repeatedly linked to a new TV experience, with many expecting it to be offered through the company’s Apple TV set-top box. We’ve heard plenty of rumors surrounding a revamped Apple TV—we even thought it might come out in March—but that new initiative seemingly isn’t ready because Apple has been unable to get content owners on board. Isaacson believes Iovine can help Apple secure those deals.

As Billboard notes, Iovine was instrumental in helping Apple ink agreements with the five top music labels for iTunes. Meanwhile, Iovine was also involved in Apple’s agreeement with U2 when it created Apple’s special U2 edition iPod. As an aside, Isaacson also noted that Jobs once said Iovine encouraged him to purchase Universal, though that obviously never came to fruition. Iovine has been connected to Apple longer than most people realize, and his immense influence is apparently something Apple wants—even if it doesn’t necessarily have to do with Beats or music streaming.

Previous rumors have claimed Apple is waiting to announce the deal at WWDC in June, where Iovine and even Dr. Dre will be announced as Apple executives. Hearing that may freak out some of the Apple faithful, but it could benefit the company greatly in the long run. With Iovine so instrumental in some of Apple’s biggest moves, his biggest role with the company, it seems, has yet to come.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.