Apple purges rival products from store ahead of rumored AirPods Studio, new HomePod

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Apple at the end of September ceased online sales of third-party headphones, earphones, speakers and other devices as the company prepares to debut a slate of new audio products like AirPods Studio and a more affordable HomePod.

AirPods Pro


Products from major manufacturers including Bose, Logitech, and Sonos disappeared from the online Apple Store late last month, while employees at brick-and-mortar outlets were recently told to remove third-party headphone and speaker items from store shelves, reports Bloomberg.

A quick check reveals no products from Bose or Logitech's Ultimate Ears brand for sale on Apple's website. Similarly, searches for "Sonos" deliver Apple alternatives like HomePod and the Beats Pill+ portable speaker.

Prior to the change, Apple was an important reseller for third-party audio device makers that jockeyed for space on Apple Store shelves. A spot in the tech giant's curated catalog granted access to well-heeled consumers looking for premium iPhone, iPad and Mac accessories.

As noted in the report, Apple sometimes discontinues sale of devices that might compete with new or future products. For example, the company stopped selling Fitbit wearables after the launch of Apple Watch in 2014.

More recently, Masimo's MightySat fingertip pulse oximeter was cut from the Apple Store lineup just prior to the launch of Apple Watch Series 6. Watch's tentpole feature for 2020, blood oxygen level tracking, is replicated by the MightSat. Apple is also in a legal fight with the medical technology company over alleged patent infringement claims.

Apple is rumored to release a batch of new audio equipment in the coming months. A so-called "AirPods Studio" over-the-ear headphone is expected to boast noise-cancelling technology, orientation awareness via U1 chip and premium sound reproduction. Supposedly leaked images of a "sport" version of the device surfaced in September, showing a sleek exterior and generous application of ergonomic mesh materials.

A new HomePod variant with smaller form factor and reduced price is also anticipated to debut.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod or HomePod mini. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider Daily," and you'll get a fast update direct from the AppleInsider team.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    Looks like Apple will be doing their dead level best to ensure customers eyes are focused on their new audio line up, and their new audio line up only.  My guess this will only be for an introductory period and the others will be quietly brought back at a later date. Possibly online only.  Saving physical store space for their own exclusively.
    gregoriusmBeats
  • Reply 2 of 63
    The fact is, the third party items are always cheaper online. I've overheard Apple store employees dozens of times let customers know that. And more and more customers can shop on their phone. Since it's not a good deal, not sure they should be there at all. When Sony had a store (do they still?) I don't remember a selection of Samsung devices. And of course Apple stores don't offer the best price on Apple hardware anyway. If you just want the best price, you shop online or check out a retailer. The Apple store has a better shopping experience most of the time and I feel like that's why you would shop at one.
    svanstromlkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 63
    The fact is, the third party items are always cheaper online. I've overheard Apple store employees dozens of times let customers know that. And more and more customers can shop on their phone. Since it's not a good deal, not sure they should be there at all. When Sony had a store (do they still?) I don't remember a selection of Samsung devices. And of course Apple stores don't offer the best price on Apple hardware anyway. If you just want the best price, you shop online or check out a retailer. The Apple store has a better shopping experience most of the time and I feel like that's why you would shop at one.
    Apple still sells plenty of 3rd party products and some of those products compete directly with Apple's offerings.  They aren't being removed.  This is specific.  I think Apple wants an unobstructed selling zone for their new audio products.  They want these to succeed more than the HomePod did.  Hopefully the new speaker will have more i/o than the original HomePod.  A more versatile offering will have a greater appeal imo.

    That Sony doesn't sell Samsung devices argument is weak.  Sony never did, so there's no expectation for them to do so.  Apple has sold 3rd party competing products for years and STILL does.  They even still sell Logitech 3rd party accessories that compete with their own.  Just not speakers, cuz new devices coming and they want them to succeed.  At all costs apparently.
    edited October 2020 cloudguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 63
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    anantksundaramAaronMendozamejsricjohnbear
  • Reply 5 of 63
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,061member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    Irrelevant. None of the products are exclusive to Apple’s stores.
    applguysvanstromDogpersonmike1fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 63
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.

    WTF are you talking about? They're called APPLE Stores.  Apple has zero obligation to sell competitor's products in their stores. It's not a fucking walmart. Also, I don't recall ever seeing Android phones, Windows laptops, or Samsung tablets in their stores? Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. 

    Amazing how literally everything is "antitrust" these days. What an absurd comment. There's barely space in their stores for their own products as it is. 
    pulseimagessvanstromaderutterGG1Dogpersonfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 63
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.

    Lol. *You’re* opening yourself to an antitrust case be removing logic from your post.  
    DogpersonRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 63
    Interesting... let’s see just how good these new Apple audio products are. Not everything Apple is great. 
    lkrupp
  • Reply 9 of 63
    caskeycaskey Posts: 26member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.


    There are some legitimate antitrust discussions that can be had about Apples business dealings, but this is NOT one of them. It’s comments like this that muddies up what antitrust means in the first place. This is akin to Old Navy not selling Levi’s Jeans. Nothing wrong with that. You can get those jeans anywhere else and Old Navy is not stopping you. Same with these products being removed from the Apple store. 
    svanstromrandominternetpersondrdavidMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 63
    The fact is, the third party items are always cheaper online. I've overheard Apple store employees dozens of times let customers know that. And more and more customers can shop on their phone. Since it's not a good deal, not sure they should be there at all. When Sony had a store (do they still?) I don't remember a selection of Samsung devices. And of course Apple stores don't offer the best price on Apple hardware anyway. If you just want the best price, you shop online or check out a retailer. The Apple store has a better shopping experience most of the time and I feel like that's why you would shop at one.
    They even still sell Logitech 3rd party accessories that compete with their own.  Just not speakers, cuz new devices coming and they want them to succeed.  At all costs apparently.
    And there's nothing wrong with that. They are not going to sink just because they are not selling 3rd party speakers and headphones. How much money does Apple seriously make on those? The "at all costs" you refer to does not affect the bottom line in any significant manner.

    Having a dedicated space for its new range is a good move. 

    Again, they can decide what they want to sell at their stores. They aren't stopping anyone from buying 3rd party speakers and headphones from other places.
    svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 63
    Their retail stores are not exactly world dominating; removing third party hardware products from their retail lineup is fine. Nothing wrong with that.

    The App Store however is a wrong name; The Sole App Distribution Gateway is a more fitting one. I really REALLY hope Apple will be forced to allow notarized sideloading at the LEAST, most likely in Europe for starters. Their platform is so secure according to their own words, that these apps could easily operate within a protected container.
  • Reply 12 of 63
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,502member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    In this particular instance there is no case against Apple because it is their store and people are aware of that when they enter. Apple could limit itself to only its own products if it chose to.

    However, in this context and considering the wider situation, you are right that it is doing itself no favours when it comes to evaluating its anti competitive leanings. 
    edited October 2020
  • Reply 13 of 63
    Their retail stores are not exactly world dominating; removing third party hardware products from their retail lineup is fine. Nothing wrong with that.

    The App Store however is a wrong name; The Sole App Distribution Gateway is a more fitting one. I really REALLY hope Apple will be forced to allow notarized sideloading at the LEAST, most likely in Europe for starters. Their platform is so secure according to their own words, that these apps could easily operate within a protected container.
    To be fair, the AppStore is a part of what makes their platform secure; so your argument is like "since you think you're so secure you should remove one of the cornerstones of your security and still be secure".

    If some sort of malware would pass through the checks today the first time it is spotted it would be remotely killed by Apple on all devices; but if anyone can add any software, then not only does that bypass Apple's own checks to keep malware out, but each case would have smaller more unique circumstances… and as such wouldn't come to the attention of Apple, which then couldn't kill it on all devices.
    edited October 2020 drdavidfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 63
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    I would be very interested in hearing you justify that position.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 63
    The fact is, the third party items are always cheaper online. I've overheard Apple store employees dozens of times let customers know that. And more and more customers can shop on their phone. Since it's not a good deal, not sure they should be there at all. When Sony had a store (do they still?) I don't remember a selection of Samsung devices. And of course Apple stores don't offer the best price on Apple hardware anyway. If you just want the best price, you shop online or check out a retailer. The Apple store has a better shopping experience most of the time and I feel like that's why you would shop at one.
    They even still sell Logitech 3rd party accessories that compete with their own.  Just not speakers, cuz new devices coming and they want them to succeed.  At all costs apparently.
    And there's nothing wrong with that. They are not going to sink just because they are not selling 3rd party speakers and headphones. How much money does Apple seriously make on those? The "at all costs" you refer to does not affect the bottom line in any significant manner.

    Having a dedicated space for its new range is a good move. 

    Again, they can decide what they want to sell at their stores. They aren't stopping anyone from buying 3rd party speakers and headphones from other places.
    Please don't parse my quote and remove the entire context.  No one said or implied anything was wrong with what they did.  My quote is about the flawed logic that people are using in an attempt to justify Apple's decision.  This is nothing like Sonos not selling Bose in their store or Sony not selling Samsung in theirs.  Those were things that never occurred.  Comparing them to what Apple did (sell 3rd party products that compete with their own) and still does makes no sense at all.   

    The "at all cost" I referred to had nothing to do with the bottom line.  It referred to the optics of removing competing products.

    Having dedicated space for a new range of products isn't a good move.  It isn't a move at all.  It standard operating procedure.  It's what they've always done for every new product they've introduced.  What is new/different/unique/rare is the removal of competing products.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 63
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 363member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.

    If you are willing to sell your own production of potatoes in your own store, who can you force to sell potatoes from other suppliers if you don’t want? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 63
    The fact is, the third party items are always cheaper online. I've overheard Apple store employees dozens of times let customers know that. And more and more customers can shop on their phone. Since it's not a good deal, not sure they should be there at all. When Sony had a store (do they still?) I don't remember a selection of Samsung devices. And of course Apple stores don't offer the best price on Apple hardware anyway. If you just want the best price, you shop online or check out a retailer. The Apple store has a better shopping experience most of the time and I feel like that's why you would shop at one.
    They even still sell Logitech 3rd party accessories that compete with their own.  Just not speakers, cuz new devices coming and they want them to succeed.  At all costs apparently.
    And there's nothing wrong with that. They are not going to sink just because they are not selling 3rd party speakers and headphones. How much money does Apple seriously make on those? The "at all costs" you refer to does not affect the bottom line in any significant manner.

    Having a dedicated space for its new range is a good move. 

    Again, they can decide what they want to sell at their stores. They aren't stopping anyone from buying 3rd party speakers and headphones from other places.
    Please don't parse my quote and remove the entire context.  No one said or implied anything was wrong with what they did.  My quote is about the flawed logic that people are using in an attempt to justify Apple's decision.  This is nothing like Sonos not selling Bose in their store or Sony not selling Samsung in theirs.  Those were things that never occurred.  Comparing them to what Apple did (sell 3rd party products that compete with their own) and still does makes no sense at all.   

    The "at all cost" I referred to had nothing to do with the bottom line.  It referred to the optics of removing competing products.

    Having dedicated space for a new range of products isn't a good move.  It isn't a move at all.  It standard operating procedure.  It's what they've always done for every new product they've introduced.  What is new/different/unique/rare is the removal of competing products.  
    What do you expect them to do if they are going to give a prominent position to a new/expanded line of products in a not unlimited amount of space; remove one of their other lines of products just to keep the competition in?

    The obvious objection to my logic there is of course that a webstore could be viewed as having an "unlimited amount of space", but reality isn't always that simple; there are huge deals behind everything, and there are lots of reasons why one might want to match what's available in the physical and the online stores.

    It's a restructuring, and some products from some third parties no longer fit; why is that making some people think of conspiracies and evilness and anti-competitiveness etc…?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 63
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,422member
    Just bought some AirPods Pro, wonder if I should send them back if an imminent release is due.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 63
    mejsricmejsric Posts: 150member
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    if Tim Sweeney is the CEO of Bose, Logitech, and Sonos
    Beatsigorskywatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Apple is opening itself for an antitrust case by removing competition from the store.
    Can't understand why there are a lot of people dumping on this excellent observation.

    There's no accounting for wishful thinking. Regardless of what the anti-antitrusters believe, this will cause a great deal of short-term problems for Apple, especially with the Congressional anti-trust on big tech expected soon. Ultimately it may resolve in Apple's favor -- or not -- but to pretend that this will not cause problems is silly.
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingam
Sign In or Register to comment.