Apple acquires Bluetooth iOS headphone maker Wi-Gear - rumor

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    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
  • Reply 2 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,252member
    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!
  • Reply 3 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    steve-jsteve-j Posts: 320member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    jj.yuanjj.yuan Posts: 212member
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 41
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    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!
  • Reply 11 of 41
    stuffestuffe Posts: 391member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


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



    Fixed that for ya
  • Reply 12 of 41
    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)
  • Reply 13 of 41
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stuffe View Post


    Fixed that for ya



    Yeah, I forgot the "billion"... too busy counting decimal places.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    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 ........
  • Reply 15 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    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...
  • Reply 18 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,252member
    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.
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