The product was supposed to be introduced in time for the holidays last year, but was effectively killed post acquisition. Some of the engineers working on the project have since left the company, while others have been shuffled to other projects, according to sources as well as information available on Linkedin and elsewhere.
Beats was apparently looking to build a premium product that could stream music to speakers in multiple rooms of your house. It had planned to start with a bigger more powerful speaker for the living room and then follow up with smaller, more affordable speakers for the kitchen and bedroom.
Notably, the company wasn't looking to just copy Sonos. It was also looking to combine Bluetooth with Wi-Fi and NFC for seamless handovers, making it possible to launch music as you enter the room.
As Beats is a premium brand, it was not looking to undercut Sonos on price; rather, its bigger speaker would have cost around $750.
Building this type of system is hard and Beats ran into many issues, having to switch chipset vendors along the line. It also had to delay the project's launch date more than once. Given these issues, Apple decided to scrap the project, according to some sources. However, another source close to Apple says that it was put on hiatus in a joint decision between executives at Beats and Apple.
Some insiders feel that this is a sign that Apple isn't committed to Beats' hardware business. Key employees including Beats chief product officer TJ Grewal and head of loudspeaker engineering David Titzler, have left in the last few months. A recent voluntary recall of 233,000 Beats Pill XL speakers due to overheating batteries didn't offer a replacement device, rather the speaker is off Apple shelves and customers are being reimbursed.
It will be interesting to see where Apple takes the Beats' hardware unit over the next few years. Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.