Apple’s decision to gobble up the trendy Beats by Dre line of headphones and speakers may just tilt the coolness factor all the way back in its favor. For year the iPhone and iPad have been seen as the coolest products in consumer technology. But with the last four iPhones all more or less looking exactly like each other, Samsung has attempted to position itself as the new cool kid. Its phones are aggressively oversized, it has popular brand partners like LeBron James, and its new Galaxy S5 is the hottest new product of 2014 so far – but part of that is simply because Apple hasn’t done anything this year. That’s about to change. And with Apple adding all the cool factor of Dr. Dre to its ranks, will Samsung end up needing Dr. Drew?
Each move by Apple over the past few years has triggered and opposite, if not always equal, response by Samsung – to the point that Apple has gone to court and gotten several juries to agree that Samsung’s copycatting of Apple’s products and ideas is so severe it’s illegal. But Apple’s move is one which Samsung may not be able to properly counter. Sure, it can try pairing up with a competing hip hop star, but that’s not what Apple’s deal with Dre is really about. Beats technology will now be incorporated into every new iPhone, every Mac computer, and the Beats headphones will now be strongly associated with the Apple brand.
Where will Samsung turn to in order to match that cool factor? It may not be able to. And Apple, which (fairly or not) been accused of losing its cool since the late Steve Jobs passed away, knows it can get back in the coolness game with one swing here. That may leave Samsung needing to sort out the grief counseling of the likes of Dr. Drew after all. Just don’t expect him to appear in the new Galaxy ads.