There are still many unknowns about Apple’s (S AAPL) reported acquisition of headphone maker Beats Audio, but one thing is already certain: The deal, if it goes through as reported, is going to be a game changer for digital music.

News of Apple’s negotiations with Beats broke Thursday, and we have learned very few actual details since, save for the fact that Beats co-owner Dr. Dre seems to be a happy man. Reports do indicate that Beats Music, which launched as a Spotify competitor earlier this year, will be part of the $3.2 billion package. That has led to two interpretations of the deal: Some people think it’s all about digital music, while others argue that Beats Audio with an estimated $1.5 billion in hardware sales per year is, at least for now, the crown jewel.

I’d argue both are true. For Apple buying Beats is all about hardware…

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