March 4, 2013

WhiteBoard Critique of the “Beats


Beats by Dre has taken the headphone market by storm.  Celebrities, the Olympic team, and the average Joe on the bus, can be caught wearing a set of their stylish headphones.  However, Beats makes more than just headphones.  The Beats Pill is the extension of the head phone collection that brings the rest of the room in on the music experience.

The Beats Pill is a compact speaker for listening to music and answering calls.  One can connect to the Pill either wirelessly, with Bluetooth, or through the supplied 3.5 mm head phone jack.

A breakdown of all the parts.

The three buttons on the round face are connected to two separate circuit boards that are fastened to a molded part.

The prominent Beats button in the front is backlit, illuminating the “b” icon with four small LEDs mounted to the circuit board.

Because of the rounded shape, it was necessary to extend the power button with a molded cruciform that also holds the spring to reach the tact switch on the circuit board.  There are two 2100mAh lithium batteries that are split across the housing to provide balance and power to the product.  The Pill provides about 6 hours of great sounding music anywhere.

Form Follows Reality™

Our Approach: Form Follows Reality™ You have heard the phrase “form follows function.” It was coined by architect Louis Sullivan in 1896 to emphasize how a building’s design should always reflect its intended purpose. It has since been adapted by product designers to guide product development. We at WhiteBoard Product Solutions believe that function is only one of the essential requirements for a truly successful product design. Our mantra is Form Follows Reality™. Form Follows Reality is rooted in the original appreciation for function, often one of the most important realities, but it also understands that there are other factors that determine the success of a product. Every project has multiple requirements, constraints and needs that must be defined to enable a product to succeed in the marketplace. These are the realities that inform the decisions that drive the design process. Form Follows Reality recognizes that function, aesthetics, cost of goods, timeline, R&D budget, tooling investment, manufacturing capabilities, distribution channels, merchandisability, and a product’s competitive environment are sometimes competing realities that need to be identified and weighed against each other to drive a project to achieve success. How does WhiteBoard do this? We collaborate with our clients to identify and rank each project’s most important realities. We listen. We question. We challenge. We ideate. We define. Once a project begins, we use those ranked realities to drive the decision-making process. And we make sure that every member of the team understands how those realities fit into the end result. That means marketers, engineers, manufacturers, and designers are all working toward the same goal from the very start of a project. Say we are designing a retail product that our client wants to sell in large quantities. Along with a variety of other factors, we will determine at the start of the design process how many units will fit on a 12-inch shelf. If reducing the size of a product or its packaging by just a fraction of an inch can make the difference between five or six products being displayed, our entire team works together to determine the most successful solution. If this collaborative approach sounds like common sense, it is. But it’s also too frequently missing in product design, where departments often operate as separate fiefdoms and lack of communication between each department can lead to late-stage changes that escalate costs and delay schedules. By following Form Follows Reality, iconic product designs can be created that not only meet or exceed our client’s needs and expectations, but succeed in the marketplace and quickly become industry standards. WhiteBoard