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Apple acquires Bluetooth iOS headphone maker Wi-Gear - rumor

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apple is rumored to have bought Wi-Gear, a third-party accessory maker that has sold wireless Bluetooth headphones and adapters for iPhones and iPods.

The alleged acquisition reportedly took place about two months ago. Wi-Gear, maker of products like iMuffs, recently announced on its website it has "ceased operations and is no longer in business."

The company's co-founder, Michael Kim, has since become an Apple employee, taking the role of iOS Bluetooth Engineer, according to his Linkedin profile. Previously, he worked as a project manager and lead electrical engineer at Wi-Gear Inc.

However, the profile for Wi-Gear President and CEO Mark Pundsack has not been updated, and still states that he is with the now-defunct company.

Wi-Gear's products included Bluetooth wireless headphones, and adapters for iPods and iPhones that do not come with integrated Bluetooth 2.0 support. The company specialized in making hardware for iOS devices.

Apple's rumored acquisition has led to speculation that Apple could create its own line of wireless headphones that would work with future iPhones and iPods.



Apple introduced its own Bluetooth headset alongside the original iPhone in 2007. The device cost $129 and was bundled with a Bluetooth travel cable and dual dock that could charge both the iPhone and headset.

A year later, Apple dropped the price of the headset to $99, but also stopped including the dual dock. The product was eventually discontinued in March of 2009.

Of course, the company still bundles its own wired headphones with iPods and iPhones, and also sells a set of $79 premium In-Ear Headphones for users looking to upgrade. But those products are not wireless Bluetooth, like the products Wi-Gear made.
post #2 of 42
Good! I really miss my little original Apple bluetooth earpiece. Yes it didn't have a lot of controls, low battery life (lasted about half a day) and I couldn't listen to podcasts with it. But compared to the other bluetooth devices available, Apple's was elegant. The others look like you a big beetle attached to you ear.

I used to have the "dual dock" with my iPhone and the earpiece attached in my car to charge it while driving and not on the phone.

I'm really tired of the Apple wired head phones. They are ok to wear but a pain to carry in your pocket or back pack, then untangle them every time you want to use them. Plus they catch on everything if you wear them in the car.

Best
post #3 of 42
I wonder how this impacts the $51 billion plus cash pile Apple has. They said they were keeping it for one or more strategic moves.

Hey folks, this could be it!
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Plus they catch on everything if you wear them in the car.

Best

Don't say that too loud. Wearing headphones in the car may be illegal - it is in Virginia.
post #5 of 42
The picture of their product in the article doesn't looks like anything Apple would be interested in. I'm guessing that the company actually went out of business and then Apple hired one of their lead engineers.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is rumored to have bought Wi-Gear, a third-party accessory maker that has sold wireless Bluetooth headphones and adapters for iPhones and iPods.
...

Of course, the company still bundles its own wired headphones with iPods and iPhones, and also sells a set of $79 premium In-Ear Headphones for users looking to upgrade. But those products are not wireless Bluetooth, like the products Wi-Gear made.


Good. Maybe Apple will start taking Bluetooth seriously. And maybe they will start to produce some high quality headsets.
post #7 of 42
I love the idea of having wire-free headphones but they have their problems that need to be solved. Things like sending audio transmissions unencrypted or with low encryption, audio drop-outs that switch to transmitting noise, battery-saving sleep modes that produce long delays on reconnection, having to have the power source inside the headsets making them heavier or not long lasting and continually needing recharged.

From how Apple describes itself, it seems like they like to rise to engineering challenges so they may figure out how to do it properly. Perhaps they can even license the technology to 3rd parties who build better headphones like Sennheiser, Shure, Etymotic etc.

I don't mind wired mice and keyboard but for some reason wired headphones do. I think it's because their cables are so thin and long and they just get tangled around everything and it's especially annoying when you're out and about trying to avoid catching the cable on things and pulling the buds out your ears.

That is one other downside to bluetooth headsets - I don't think buds would work because it's highly likely you'll lose one and they need to be powered separately. There will have to be a band somewhere to hold it in place.
post #8 of 42
Went into my local AppleStore at the weekend, they didn't have a single pair of wireless headphones for the iPod. I hate cables they are a pain. Hopefully we will see more wireless options sometime soon if this is true.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Don't say that too loud. Wearing headphones in the car may be illegal - it is in Virginia.

Not sure why states make this illegal. I can hear just as well with headphones in as with the radio on. I like to keep my headphones on in case I get a phone call. I'll a lot of times drive with just one side in my ears since it's not illegal to wear a headset that just goes in one ear.
post #10 of 42
An iPod that's mounted inside a headphone should have been made long time ago, IMHO. Maybe this company owns a few patents in this aspect?
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I wonder how this impacts the $51 billion plus cash pile Apple has. They said they were keeping it for one or more strategic moves.

Hey folks, this could be it!

Yup, now they are down to just $50.999950 billion in cash!
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Yup, now they are down to just $50,999,950 in cash!

Fixed that for ya
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I love the idea of having wire-free headphones but they have their problems that need to be solved. Things like sending audio transmissions unencrypted or with low encryption, audio drop-outs that switch to transmitting noise, battery-saving sleep modes that produce long delays on reconnection, having to have the power source inside the headsets making them heavier or not long lasting and continually needing recharged....

Personally, I would love to have just a simple pair of good quality, old-style, over the ear type headphones that were also wireless. I would never have guessed before I started looking for them last year that they are just not to be found anywhere.

Why do Bluetooth headsets always have to be:

- mono
- bad quality in general
- "futuristic looking" (ugly)
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Fixed that for ya

Yeah, I forgot the "billion"... too busy counting decimal places.
post #15 of 42
Apple tends to advance the technologies where needed, and leave it to others when they can manage by themselves. Digital cameras, inkjet printers, USB - all pushed by Apple, then left for others to make a business from. You would think Bluetooth headsets should be easy enough, but no-one seems to get it right. So it should be no surprise if Apple has either bought or poached people from iMuffs, if only to get rid of the ridiculous name.

I have been looking for a Bluetooth headset for my iPhone for more than a year. Contrary to what many people say, I believe the sound quality of Apple's included headphones is quite good. The problem is, you can only hear that quality if you keep your hands pushing the earphones against your ear, otherwise low to middle notes attenuate. Also, it may be the shape of my ears, but I cannot keep them in when I go running.

I have spent many hours in various Apple Stores comparing headphones costing up to $200, and found that their sound quality was worse than the Apple headphones. I did find a Sony set that sounded better, but finally bought a pair of (wired) B+W P5's, which sound great.

Still looking out for a Bluetooth headset that I can use with my iPhone and go running without worrying about sweat ........
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Don't say that too loud. Wearing headphones in the car may be illegal - it is in Virginia.

Using a handsfree HEADSET or similar device is required in most states.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mynameisjoe View Post

The picture of their product in the article doesn't looks like anything Apple would be interested in. I'm guessing that the company actually went out of business and then Apple hired one of their lead engineers.

I think yours is the more likely scenario, in which case Apple's war chest remains intact.

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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Yup, now they are down to just $50.999950 billion in cash!

Take one down
Pass it around
49 Billion dollars in the bank...
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Personally, I would love to have just a simple pair of good quality, old-style, over the ear type headphones that were also wireless. I would never have guessed before I started looking for them last year that they are just not to be found anywhere.

Why do Bluetooth headsets always have to be:

- mono
- bad quality in general
- "futuristic looking" (ugly)

It's a holdover from the days when douche bags thought they looked really important because they always had a bluetooth headset on.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Using a handsfree HEADSET or similar device is required in most states.

I got ticketed for having both ear buds in while talking on my iPhone about a month ago. I ended up getting ticketed for something else (hadn't switched my license and registration from IN yet), but he pulled me over because he saw that I had both ear buds in. I had been talking to my boss and just ended the phone call when I heard the siren. He assumed I was listening to music until I offered to show him the call log.

I fail to see the difference between headphones and a stereo system that rattles every car within 100 feet, but no one ever said that laws had to make sense or be consistent. Even nonsensical laws can cost you.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Fixed that for ya

You think Apple now only has $51 million left after this purchase? Wow! I hope this company has some REALLY good patents.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think yours is the more likely scenario, in which case Apple's war chest remains intact.

Their products got pretty good ratings, and I thought they were popular.

Apple does have, or had products like these, but they didn't do well, as the article reminds us. If Apple wants to get BACK into the business with a well received product line, how better than buying a company that has one?
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by crmarvin42 View Post

I got ticketed for having both ear buds in while talking on my iPhone about a month ago. I ended up getting ticketed for something else (hadn't switched my license and registration from IN yet), but he pulled me over because he saw that I had both ear buds in. I had been talking to my boss and just ended the phone call when I heard the siren. He assumed I was listening to music until I offered to show him the call log.

I fail to see the difference between headphones and a stereo system that rattles every car within 100 feet, but no one ever said that laws had to make sense or be consistent. Even nonsensical laws can cost you.

It's been shown in several studies, that talking on the phone with or without a headset, or handheld, is just as likely to cause a crash as being legally drunk. It's pretty obvious as to why. When you're on the phone, you pay more attention to the conversation than you do to music, or a person in the car with you. This has also been shown to be true.

People who insist on talking on the phone while driving prefer to act as though this isn't true, but then, so do people who are drunk.
post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin
Yup, now they are down to just $50,999,950 in cash!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Fixed that for ya

The last time I was in math class $50,999,950 = millions. It does not equal $50,999,950,000 (billions) so I'll fix it for both of you! $50,995,000,000.00. If WiGear cost them 5 million. I doubt they paid 50 million for them.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Don't say that too loud. Wearing headphones in the car may be illegal - it is in Virginia.

Thanks, I should have said one earbud!

Best
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You think Apple now only has $51 million left after this purchase? Wow! I hope this company has some REALLY good patents.

lol exactly.. You guys fixed him like 4 times but its only 51 MILLION, not billion.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

It's a holdover from the days when douche bags thought they looked really important because they always had a bluetooth headset on.

I remember when people thought they looked important because they had a pager on their belt! Oooooh, so cool!

Or even further back when people carried eleven pens in their shirt pocket, just in case the first 10 ran out of ink!

Best
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mynameisjoe View Post

The picture of their product in the article doesn't looks like anything Apple would be interested in. I'm guessing that the company actually went out of business and then Apple hired one of their lead engineers.

That was my first thought when I saw the photo, too. Pretty ugly stuff.

But I did not think they just hired the head engineer. Good point!

Best
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Of course, the company still bundles its own wired headphones with iPods and iPhones, and also sells a set of $79 premium In-Ear Headphones for users looking to upgrade.

I like those in-ears, but they have a serious problem. After a few weeks the left channel weakens and eventually stops working. This is a known issue and they have replaced mine twice already. Now it's happening again. I am about to go back to my local Apple Store and get a third set. The last set didn't come in a box with all the fixins, just the shrink wrapped ear buds, leaving me to wonder if they were someone else's bad ones that had been "reconditioned." I keep hoping that Apple will figure this out and issue a new model that eliminates the problem once and for all.
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post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbro1999 View Post

lol exactly.. You guys fixed him like 4 times but its only 51 MILLION, not billion.

What's only $51 million? Not Apple's cash and investments.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

I like those in-ears, but they have a serious problem. After a few weeks the left channel weakens and eventually stops working. This is a known issue and they have replaced mine twice already. Now it's happening again. I am about to go back to my local Apple Store and get a third set. The last set didn't come in a box with all the fixins, just the shrink wrapped ear buds, leaving me to wonder if they were someone else's bad ones that had been "reconditioned." I keep hoping that Apple will figure this out and issue a new model that eliminates the problem once and for all.

I had that problem with one pair, but for the price they are pretty reasonable. The fact that they will replace them so easily makes the fact they could be faulty a non-issue for me.

However, I later bought Klipsch headphones and they sounded better (though cost more), but the cord is over a foot longer than Apples and they got in the way. Once those ripped apart from being snagged I tried to find in-ear phones that were shorter in length but all the good ones were as long or longer than the Klipsch.

I tried going back to Apples phones but I was spoiled by the better sound quality and now use Shure in-ear phones. The cord is still long, but they are thicker cables than the Klipsch and dont seem to be as problematic. The base is nice, but Im not a fan of the wa they fit in the ear canals. The Klipsch are the best fitting for me, with Apples being a close 2nd, but being docked points for the rubber ends flying off the headset with yanked too hard.
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post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Their products got pretty good ratings, and I thought they were popular.

Apple does have, or had products like these, but they didn't do well, as the article reminds us. If Apple wants to get BACK into the business with a well received product line, how better than buying a company that has one?

It would make more sense for Apple to invent and patent new ideas that fill this space, then license their patents to other manufacturers or sew it up so competitors would have trouble stealing food from Apple's plate.

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post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Good. Maybe Apple will start taking Bluetooth seriously. And maybe they will start to produce some high quality headsets.

with airplay this is a whole new ballgame.
post #34 of 42
They should've bought Jabra. The Jabra Stone is perfection, and very Apple-like in its simplicity and one-button-touchsensitivityness.

As said above, they must own some patents that Apple needs to have in the warchest.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by crmarvin42 View Post

I got ticketed for having both ear buds in while talking on my iPhone about a month ago. I ended up getting ticketed for something else (hadn't switched my license and registration from IN yet), but he pulled me over because he saw that I had both ear buds in. I had been talking to my boss and just ended the phone call when I heard the siren. He assumed I was listening to music until I offered to show him the call log.

I fail to see the difference between headphones and a stereo system that rattles every car within 100 feet, but no one ever said that laws had to make sense or be consistent. Even nonsensical laws can cost you.

And yet it is legal for a deaf person to drive, or to drive with a radio loud enough to drown out all external noise
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post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I had that problem with one pair, but for the price they are pretty reasonable. The fact that they will replace them so easily makes the fact they could be faulty a non-issue for me.

UPDATE: Read no further if you are squeamish. The left bud was plugged with earwax. Poked it out with the end of the jack and they worked fine again. Apologies to Apple.
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post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Personally, I would love to have just a simple pair of good quality, old-style, over the ear type headphones that were also wireless. I would never have guessed before I started looking for them last year that they are just not to be found anywhere.

Why do Bluetooth headsets always have to be:

- mono
- bad quality in general
- "futuristic looking" (ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tardis View Post

Still looking out for a Bluetooth headset that I can use with my iPhone and go running without worrying about sweat ........

Have you guys seen/considered the Jaybird headset? (I know, who??) I got the Jaybird SB1 a while back, and I've been very happy with it. It's an old-school over the head style headset that grips tight enough to stay on your head. Great sound quality, and I can use it with my iPod Touch (music/games), my BlackBerry (making calls), my PC (music). Much better for calling than any of the little earpieces I've tried, and wireless freedom from the iPod while on the move is just fantastic to have. Play/pause and Track +/- buttons work. Volume control is local to the headphones.

Not a spammer, just new to the forums!
post #38 of 42
The next nano will be a watch. Made for athletes.
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post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

The last time I was in math class $50,999,950 = millions. It does not equal $50,999,950,000 (billions) so I'll fix it for both of you! $50,995,000,000.00. If WiGear cost them 5 million. I doubt they paid 50 million for them.


In North America it is definetly $51 Billion, IIRC in other parts of the world it would be Million.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

In North America it is definetly $51 Billion, IIRC in other parts of the world it would be Million.

$50,999,950 is millions of US dollars anywhere in the world and even in integers a 8 digit number is still in the millions. It would have to be a 10 integer number to be in the billions.
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