What Apple’s Massive 2013 Buying Spree Means For The Future [Year In Review]

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Apple may as well run Cupertino. Photo: Benjamin Feenstra
Apple may as well run Cupertino. Photo: Benjamin Feenstra

It was widely reported in January that Apple was in talks to buy Waze, an Israeli startup with a hugely popular maps app. Waze was rumored to be asking Apple for $750 million. The same outlet that broke the acquisition rumor quickly backpedaled and said no such deal was taking place. Google ended up buying Waze in June for $1 billion.

And so goes the buyout game in Silicon Valley, a power play where tech giants like Apple and Google court hot startups with the hopes of adding them to their war chests.

Apple had its biggest year ever for acquisitions in 2013, with a record 15 smaller companies joining the fold. A dozen of them have now been publicly disclosed.

For an entity as secretive as Apple, examining the companies it buys is one of the only ways to peek into its future plans. When AuthenTec, a company that specialized in fingerprint readers and identification software, was purchased in July 2012, speculation immediately followed. What did Apple want with fingerprint sensors? The answer ended up being obvious, and the technology debuted in Touch ID in September 2013.

Often the outcome of an Apple acquisition isn’t so immediately apparent.

Historically, Apple acquires far fewer companies than its competitors. But the line is starting to blur. Google publicly bought three times as many companies as Apple in 2012 and not even twice as many in 2013. Apple bought more companies than Microsoft in 2013.

So what does all of this say about Apple’s future?

Apple To Use PrimeSense Tech For Indoor Mapping?

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iOS 7 could soon have many of the capabilities of the Xbox 360 Kinect.
iOS 7 could soon have many of the capabilities of the Xbox 360 Kinect.

It’s the third most asked question next to “did I make the right choice of next generation iPad?” and “why is it so cold at the moment?” (I’m writing this post from England) — but what exactly does Apple plan to do with PrimeSense?

Having acquired the Israel-based 3D-motion tracking company behind the original Xbox Kinect for an estimated $360 million, most people assumed that Apple would use the technology to incorporate motion tech into its long-awaited television-based hardware.

According to Washington Post tech journalist Jessica Lessin, however, that’s not right at all.

Apple Buys WiFiSLAM, A Small Startup That Specializes In Indoor Mapping [Report]

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wifislam

Apple has purchased a small startup called WiFiSLAM, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The two-year-old company specializes in indoor mapping, which is something Google has already been doing with Google Maps for some time.

Since Apple debuted its own mapping technology in iOS 6, it’s been working to bring its service up to par with Google Maps. WiFiSLAM’s expertise could very well be used to improve Apple Maps, and the acquisition also bodes well for another Apple service, Passbook.

iOS 6 Code Indicates Apple’s New Maps Service Could Be Coming To OS X

Why would Apple's new Maps app include references to Intel based graphics chipsets in its code?
Why would Apple's new Maps app include references to Intel based graphics chipsets in its code?

Apple purchasing several mapping companies over the last fews years, Apple is finally replacing Google Maps with its own solution in iOS 6. But it seems the Cupertino company may be planning to expand it beyond iOS. One developer has discovered some code within the iOS 6 beta that indicates Maps will also be coming to OS X later on.