Editor's Note: This article is part of a series that examines the lessons behind disruptive products through the lens of design.
Beats Electronics is famous for having been Apple's largest ever acquisition, at $3 billion, but before the company built its audio-products empire, which now includes wireless speakers and a music streaming service, Beats made its mark by reimagining high-end headphones.
The first Beats by Dr. Dre headphones were designed in 2008 with the goal of bringing the high-quality audio heard in professional recording studios to the general public. Specifically, Dre and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine wanted to capture the heavy bass sound lost in other headphone products like Apple's plastic earbuds.
"People thought we were crazy," Beats COO and President Luke Wood told Time last year. "They said the marketplace would never support a $300 headphone."
Today, Beats' six different models of headphones dominate the market. The sleek, sports car-inspired style and vibrant colors have contributed to the headphones' image as fashion accessories as well as audio hardware, but the design lessons from Beats headphones extend beyond their appearance.
Here are three design elements that have helped Beats become the world's most famous headphones:
Build for comfort and convenience.
Beats' latest Studio model was designed to be 13 percent lighter than the original, with a more comfortable headband that conforms to every head shape and softer, ergonomically angled ear cups that pivot on consumers' heads. For added convenience, the wireless version of the Studio headphones let users roam up to 30 feet from mobile devices, with the ability to skip songs and change the volume directly from the headphones.
Make your product a multitasker.
Beats' noise-canceling headphones reduce external sound for listening to music, but also provide increased noise cancellation when users are simply looking to mute out their surroundings. Beats also offers a built-in microphone so users can switch easily between songs and incoming calls without having to touch their mobile devices.
Conserve energy and space.
The Studio model's 20-hour rechargeable battery has a visible battery fuel gauge and automatically turns off when users unplug, while all Beats headphones fold into a compact shape for easy storage.
Although Beats has expanded beyond headphones into audio systems for cars, computers and smartphones, the company will always be remembered for its core headphone product that filled a void in high-quality audio listening devices.
What do you like most about Beats' headphones? Tell us in the comments below.