Apple completed 15 acquisitions in fiscal 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced during the company’s Q4 investor call. That amounts to one acquisition every 3-4 weeks during the year.
Given that we only know about eight of those acquisitions, there are still seven more out there. Apple typically makes small acquisitions of companies that have developed a set of skills it needs or a product that it wants to integrate into its hardware or software. Apple’s famous acquisition “confirmation” boilerplate alludes to this, stating “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
So far, we know of the following acquisitions by Apple in 2013:
- WiFiSlam – An indoor location company that Apple has or will likely integrate into mapping efforts or iBeacon development. Exploring the WiFiSLAM technology deeper leads to the realization that Apple has everything it needs to leverage the tech already onboard hundreds of millions of iPhones.
- Locationary – A Canada-based startup that focuses on merging and organizing business profiles and location data. This is a no-brainer, as Apple’s biggest Maps problem is point-of-interest data.
- Hopstop.com – A transit and walking-directions company that Apple could use to build out its own transit directions inside the Maps app. The app shipped without either in its first iteration, and iOS 7 added walking directions to the mix. Hopstop could have helped with that.
- Passif Semiconductor – A low-energy chip maker. It seems likely that Apple could use this to either improve or enhance its iBeacon technology, which runs on Bluetooth LE. Apple’s new Apple TV software allows you to use a similar procedure to transfer settings directly from an iPhone.
- Matcha – An acquisition that appeared to be aimed at bolstering Apple’s Genius offerings for media, marketing efforts for iTunes movie storefront-ends or perhaps iRadio.
- Embark – A popular iOS transit app.
- AlgoTrim – A data-compression company that could help Apple market its offerings in countries where plans are expensive and data is at a premium.
- Cue – A smart assistant company that Apple will likely purchase to bolster its Siri and “Today” offerings in iOS in order to compete with Google Now.