Disgusted with Apple’s Deceptive Marketing for Their “Beats” Headphones

This is just disgusting... Beats, Apple's ultra-pricey line of headphones, uses marketing that's so deceitful that one can only imagine it's done to purposefully trick and deceive.

Some of their headphone models are not wireless, which means like headphones of yesteryear, when in use they must be physically tethered to your audio device by a cable. That's fine, but their marketing photos don't show the headphones with a cable, only without.

As an example, here's a search at Amazon for beats studio wireless:

On the page for the NOT wireless product, we have these product images:

Nary a cable in sight. Remember, this is for a product that requires a cable.

To be clear, the cable can be removed for storage, or to let you swap out a different cable or whatnot, so it's reasonable to illustrate that by including a photo of the headphones without the cable. But nevertheless, the product is totally useless without a cable, so to show only photos of it without a cable seems deceptive.

These photos are almost exactly the same as those for their wireless models (models that can be used without a cable); they have the same six views of the ever-so-slightly-different look of the different model.

Furthermore, there's nothing in the product description that indicates a cable is required. There's not even a hint. If you didn't already know to be wary of this company's marketing and to look for the absence of an explicit wireless mention, you'd be forgiven for thinking these were, as shown, wireless headphones.

Now, you might think that one shouldn't need to mention every feature a product doesn't have; the headphones are not glow-in-the-dark, and I don't feel it's a problem that they don't say not glow in the dark... unless they showed a photo of them glowing in the dark. Then I'd expect clarification.

It's not just Amazon.... the product page at Apple.com is equally deceptive, with nothing at all to indicate that a cable is required. Even worse, their product page for the wireless model does show an image of a cable, even though the cable is not required for their use.

So, they show a cable where it's not required, but don't show one where it is. Super sleazy.

At least on Amazon, the reviews can clue you in, with review titles like 有線なので注意 (These require a cable, so take care).

I've been an Apple shareholder for a long time, and by looking at the stock price one knows they're doing a lot of things right, but it's still so disappointing to see them so clearly lose their way in some areas, such as the now-moronic design of iTunes, the lack of family-oriented iPhone features, or this kind of trick-you marketing. Sigh.

One comment so far...

Hello Jeffrey-

Hard for me to imagine Apple doing this intentionally. How would they gain by pissing you off with the wrong headphone that you would return and then rebuy the wireless model. Sloppy maybe but to me sleazy implies intent to deceive. I also don’t think they can be held responsible for 3rd party sellers on Amazon.

I used your Apple link, clicked accessories, then headphones and the cable was clearly in the photo.


I don’t love Apple as they do things that piss me off too. Amazon also pisses me off when I do a search for a specific product and a whole lot of unrelated junk gets returned. I do however use both companies products and services.

Hope you feel better soon and get riding again.

The photos used by the third-party sellers seem identical to those used by Apple (e.g. seem to be the marketing material provided by Apple). Clicking around on Apple’s store shows some headphones with a cable attached, but if it’s a Beats headphone that has a detachable cable, the headphones are not shown with the cable attached; if a cable is shown at all, it’s shown only as an accessory, just as it’s shown for wireless headphones. For example, these. Yes, the “why” is unfathomable, but they’ve got years of experience selling stuff, so perhaps they have learned that the increased sales make it worth it, despite the increased level of returns we presume. The saying goes “Don’t ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity”, but the lack of a cable is such a glaring discrepancy that I don’t think “oops” can explain it.—Jeffrey

— comment by Rick H. on July 3rd, 2017 at 3:07am JST (7 years ago) comment permalink
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