Buying Disney could give Apple the magic it needs, says analyst

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Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Circa 1930
Apple's next big purchase?
Photo: Walt Disney

RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani has a suggestion for how Apple could spend its cash stockpile, while also growing its presence in media: buy the Walt Disney Company.

“There are plenty of factors to consider,” Daryanani wrote in a note to investors, “but such a deal would create a tech/media juggernaut like no other and instantly scale AAPL’s services, content, and media portfolio, which would make the case for a higher valuation.”

Apple boosts AI efforts by acquiring machine learning startup

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Siri
Turi could make Siri smarter than ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition could play a big role in the iPhone maker’s future artificial intelligence products.

Turi, a Seattle-based startup specializing in machine learning and AI, was reportedly acquired by Apple for around $200 million. The startup creates software that gives developers the ability to add AI capabilities that scale automatically, which could certainly be an attractive addition to Apple’s platforms.

Why Apple should buy Tidal (and why it shouldn’t) [Friday Night Fights]

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fnf
Tidal could be Apple Music's biggest rival later.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

When you have the kind of cash Apple has, the easiest way to take down the competition is to just buy it. That’s exactly what the Cupertino company is planning to do with Apple Music rival Tidal, according to a recent report.

FNF-bugBut would a Tidal takeover be a good move? Would Apple be using its money solely to wipe out a rival, or will Tidal’s talent and connections to the music industry be great for Apple Music?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we battle it out over the latest Apple acquisition rumor!

Foxconn confirms $3.5 billion takeover of iPhone display maker

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iPhone rain by Dariusz-Sankowski
Among other things, Sharp builds iPhone displays.
Photo: Dariusz Sanksowski/Pixabay. Licensed via CC0 1.0.

Foxconn is cementing its importance to Apple by finalizing a deal to acquire a majority interest in struggling iPhone display maker Sharp for a reported 389 billion yen — or $3.5 billion.

The multi-billion dollar bailout of Sharp was originally reported as being completed back in February, only to be placed on hold after previously undisclosed liabilities threatened the deal.

Apple scoops up A.I. startup that analyzes users’ emotions

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Emojis
Less emojis, more AI.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition is of a small artificial intelligence company called Emotient. The startup has technology that analyzes people’s emotions through their facial expressions.

Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple’s spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. That’s the typical statement Apple gives when snatching up small companies.

It’s not clear yet what Apple has in mind for Emotient, but we sure can speculate.

Rdio marches to death playing the high notes

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The Rdio app just got better than ever. Photo: Rdio.
You won't be able to stream from Rdio on Christmas this year.
Photo: Rdio

Rdio made the date of its demise official this morning. The streaming music service as we know it will cease to exist on December 22 — just six days from today — at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Rdio sent around an email to its users to let them know the specifics of the shutdown.

“Rdio is being acquired, and the service is shutting down worldwide on December 22,” the company wrote on its Goodbye page. “We’re excited to bring great music experiences to even more listeners in the future as part of the Pandora team.”

HopStop shuts down after Apple sucks the life out of it

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iphone-transit
With Transit coming in iOS 9, HopStop doesn't need to exist anymore.
Photo: Apple

It looks like HopStop is doing the walk of shame back from Apple’s apartment. The city transit mapping service is shutting down as of this October. Apple acquired HopStop in 2013 and seems to have used up just about all of the data it wants for its own Maps app, so the folks in Cupertino have apparently moved on.

Apple buys Prss, a publishing platform for iPad magazines

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Photo: Prss
Photo: Prss

Apple has acquired Prss, a Dutch company that lets users easily create magazines for iPad and iPhone by way of a simple drag-and-drop interface, for selling in Apple’s Newsstand and other services like Kiosk.

An inside source first reported the acquisition, before Apple confirmed it. Company co-founder Michel Elings recently moved to the Bay Area, alongside other members of the Prss team — indicating that a deal might have been made over the summer.

Prss’s service shut down in July, and has not been active since then.