Sick of getting your headphones tangled together? Apple may be working on a solution. The tech blog 9to5Mac is reporting
that Apple has acquired Wi-Gear, the wireless headphone maker of the iMuffs. Though
neither company is confirming the acquisition, Wi-Gear's website notes that
the company "has ceased operations" and it won't "respond to any
inquiries." Meanwhile, the LinkedIn page of Wi-Gear's co-founder Michael
Kim lists him as an "iOS Bluetooth Engineer at Apple Inc." while
Wi-Gear is listed as his previous job.
The prospect of Apple using its industrial design prowess to craft wireless headphones has a number of gadget geeks elated. "That would be utterly awesome and yet another 'revolution,'" squeals Alexander Vaughn. To business analysts, the entrance into the wireless headphone market also makes a let of sense:
- Please Let This Be True! writes MG Siegler at TechCrunch:
Of all the annoyances in my life, the one I deal with most regularly has to be the untangling of headphone wires. Several times a day I reach into my pocket and pull out a wad of cords that look as if they have been intentionally tangled up by some sort of pocket gnome. It drives me insane.
- This Looks Like a Smart Acquisition, writes Chris Foresman at Ars Technica:
We looked at the iMuffs at Macworld Expo a couple years ago, noting that the design was very Apple-like in execution, if not fit-and-finish. The sound quality and comfort certainly exceeded that of the standard iPhone earbuds. At the time, however, the iPhone didn't support A2DP audio streaming, which required an added Bluetooth dongle. Since then, Apple has added A2DP support to the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, sparking new speculation that Apple has big plans for Wi-Gear's tech and staff members.
- Apple Would Be Crazy Not to Do It, writes Darrell Etherington at Gigaom:
A Wi-Gear buy makes perfect sense. Apple gets increased control over call and music quality associated with its devices; it can now create a high-quality, Apple-branded Bluetooth stereo solution tailored to iPhone that will help further differentiate it from Google’s all-third party hardware strategy; and it can cash in directly on the wireless headphone accessory market that has sprung up around its products.
- We'll Have to Wait to Know for Certain, writes Don Reisinger at CNET:
The LinkedIn profiles of Wi-Gear's leaders don't necessarily indicate an acquisition. Kim's page especially can indicate that Apple did, in fact, acquire Wi-Gear, or simply that Wi-Gear went out of business, and he took a position with Apple after the company was closed. And until Apple makes an announcement to that end--it did not immediately respond to request for comment--there's no way to know for sure.