Apple’s buying Loewe. Or at least that’s what you’d be lead to believe if you even so much as blinked in Twitter’s general direction over the weekend. The rumour’s since been debunked by Loewe in a statement, but that doesn’t really mean much either way. Thing is, I’ve done some digging, and it seems to be a move that makes sense. Here’s why…
It’s been a bit tough to look into Loewe since AppleInsider claimed that Apple was looking to purchase the TV maker. Why? Because the Loewe site has been down for ages. I’d like to think it’s because the company is transforming its online presence to reflect an Apple buyout, but it’s probably just as likely due to a bazillion people trying to do the same thing as me, and crashing the servers.
The long story made incredibly short is thus: $112 million. That’s the number a source spat out at AppleInsider over the weekend, claiming it’s the figure that Apple has offered Loewe to completely buy it out of its financial difficulties.
Now, AppleInsider doesn’t throw these sorts of rumours out lightly, and while an official statement has said that it’s all a pack of lies, it wouldn’t be the first time that a debunked Apple rumour has later turned out to be true. Like when Steve Jobs said that Apple wouldn’t launch a Mac App Store.
And, crucially, there are a few reasons why it would make sense. You know that Apple HD TV set that’s been so heavily rumoured? Here’s why it could have Loewe tech stuffed inside:
It won’t be the design
Look at those sexy Loewe TVs. They’re gorgeous, right? The thing is, that’s not why Apple would be keen. And in a way, it is. Let me explain: Loewe doesn’t actually design its TV sets itself. The ones that have won awards have been designed by external agencies.
Design 3 of Hamburg designed the Connect 37 TV, which won the Gold Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany, while the Individual range was dreamed up by Phoenix Design of Stuttgart. And that would suit Apple down to the ground.
Think about it: a buyout here wouldn’t involve any proud, stubborn internal design teams – Apple could just hand everything over to Sir Jonathan Ive, who has probably already sketched out the Apple HD TV set anyway. It would make for an easy transition.
Connected media centre knowhow
Loewe has a couple of properties that Apple could make use of. Its Connect TVs all talk to the company’s VideoNet and AssistMedia iPad apps, which links Apple’s tablet to the set in really clever ways. It makes your iPad the TV remote, and brings web-streamed content to your TV through the tablet. That may not sound all that special these days, but it’s very well designed, and shows a company that knows where it’s best to invest some time and creativity in before the rest of the pack.
And that early adopter attitude is also present in Loewe’s Mediacenter, a free-standing media hub that connects to iPods and USB drives, plays CDs, DVDs, streams internet radio and connects to the web. It can then pump this out to other Loewe kit like the Connect TVs and Individual speaker range. Oh, and all that predates AirPlay by some way.
It’s a company with a portfolio of connected devices that work as fluidly as Apple’s do, and that’s surely an exciting company to absorb.
Apple’s rumoured to be going with Sharp for its display technology, so Loewe won’t be needed there, but its sound knowhow could be an asset. Loewe has a range of surround sound speakers and sound bars that fetch premium price tags, but are among the best in class.
If Apple’s going to launch a TV set, it’d be a good idea to do so with an optional surround sound system too, and if it needs an expert in sound technology, Loewe’s your guy.
An alternative to B&O
And then there’s this mad alternate theory brewing away in my head. Loewe is a premium, luxe TV and audio manufacturer, right? Who else fits that description? Bang & Olufsen. Now, two weeks ago I went to the launch of B&O’s new TV sets. They’re not dissimilar to Loewe’s but did sport one brilliant feature: A slot in the back for an Apple TV box.
This has my brain chugging away on some sort of back end theory. What if – and this is a stretch – Apple wanted to buy B&O first, and Loewe is a back-up? B&O works very closely with Apple these days, according to the company’s CEO Tue Mantoni, and most of its current product lineup is Apple-focussed.
Imagine this scenario: Apple approaches B&O with a buyout offer. B&O declines, and Apple moves on to Loewe. B&O thinks: “blimey, we need to make our TVs really Apple focussed now”, to the point of putting an Apple TV slot in the back so as to stay relevant when the official Apple TV lands.
Is that a leap too far? And is Apple even interested in Loewe? Let us know your thoughts, inklings and mad theories on the matter below.