- More than 40 colleges say they won’t use facial recognition on campus 5 Years Ago
- LeBron’s Instagram tribute to Kobe is devastating 5 Years Ago
- ‘Rise of Empires: Ottoman’ is ‘Game of Thrones’ for history buffs Today 7:00 AM
- People on Twitter ask whose ancestors would’ve passed immigrant ‘wealth test’ Monday 6:54 PM
- Kobe Bryant helicopter crash mocked in teen’s TikTok video Monday 6:38 PM
- Chiefs, Bears, Packers have Twitter accounts hacked Monday 3:48 PM
- Washington Post reporter suspended amid backlash over Kobe Bryant tweet Monday 3:08 PM
- America is united in hating Ken Starr’s impeachment hat Monday 3:01 PM
- In ‘Cuties,’ the contradictions of growing up come to a head Monday 1:55 PM
- Racist tweets blame fruit bat soup for coronavirus Monday 1:25 PM
- What is the #ILeftTheGOP movement? Monday 1:21 PM
- The Grammys were weird and sad—but the Billy Porter hat memes offered some levity Monday 12:36 PM
- Auschwitz Museum calls on Facebook to ban Holocaust denialism Monday 11:59 AM
- YouTuber who said his girlfriend was dead now says he faked it Monday 11:42 AM
- Review: Kentucky Route Zero is one of the most magical games ever made Monday 11:00 AM
Teardown reveals how Beats headphones trick you into feeling fancy
Beats adds metal bits to give the illusion of luxury.
Apple’s Beats headphones are one of the most popular headphone brands, recognized anywhere for the “b” on the sides. But at $200, the luxury headphones are a serious investment, one a lot of people find too expensive for the quality of the device itself.
To find out just how much the headphones would cost to make, hardware venture capital firm Bolt broke down the headphones and discovered that just four pieces of metal make it seem like Beats are more luxurious than they are. Every other bit is made of plastic, and mostly glued or snapped together, except a few screws in the ear cups.
Weight adds the appearance of opulence, and the company knows this. That’s why 30 percent of the headphones’ weight comes from four metal parts that could just as easily be manufactured cheaper with plastic.
Bolt’s Avery Louie describes the manufacturing genius in a post on Medium.
The brilliant thing here is that the two large metal parts are not mirror images of each other- they are actually the same part! This means that only one tool would need to be made to produce both parts, which saves money in tool design and number of tools. It also makes the headphones easier to assemble, since there are fewer unique parts.
Louie estimated the actual cost of creating a pair of Beats is a $16.89, not including labor or shipping costs. But when you’re paying for Beats, you’re paying for a brand—and four tiny pieces of metal.
Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.