Apple rumored to be in acquisition talks with Path for another attempt at social networking

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Apple tried to get social with the iTunes Ping network in 2010. Things didn’t work out so well. (Image via Wired)

Apple and social networking don’t have such a great history, but the Cupertino tech firm is ready to give it another go, if new rumors regarding a potential acquisition of the Path social app are true. According to PandoDaily, Apple is already in talks with the mobile social network and the merger is “essentially a done deal.”

Path, for the uninitiated, is a mobile-only social networking app launched in 2010 that features photo sharing, private messaging, and other features you’d expect from a basic social service. It isn’t as widely popular as something like Facebook or Twitter, but it’s estimated to have somewhere around 25 million users and could provide Apple with a decent platform to create its own network.

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Apple to acquire Swell talk radio and podcast app for $30 million

Apple appears to be looking to further improve the iTunes Radio service through the $30 million acquisition of a radio application called Swell, Re/code reported early Monday morning. Unlike the $3 billion Beats Electronics (and Beats Music) buyout, however, this purchase centers more on talk radio than music.

Swell currently carries news from sources such as NPR, ABC, ESPN, the BBC, and more, and uses a user’s listening history to create personalized content playlists. Apple, on the other hand, only recently jumped into the streaming news market through iTunes Radio with ESPN and NPR stations, including over 40 local stations.

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Apple acquired BookLamp startup for $10-15 million earlier this year (Update: confirmed)

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Apple acquired a company called BookLamp earlier this year for somewhere between $10-15 million, according to information uncovered by TechCrunch.

The Idaho-based startup created what was referred to as “Pandora for books,” including a system known as the Book Genome Project that could recommend books based on analysis of the text and previous ratings of other books by users (very similar to Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which does the same thing for musical analysis).

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Apple acquires mapping-based social recommendation service Spotsetter

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Just a little more than a week after acquiring Beats, Apple has now reportedly acquired Spotsetter. According to a report out of TechCrunch, Apple quietly snatched up the company mainly for the technology and two founders behind the service. Spotsetter was founded in 2012 by ex-Google Maps engineer Stephen Tse and Jonny Lee. Both Lee and Tse’s LinkedIn profiles now say they’re employed by Apple, as well.

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Is Beats CCO Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails going to be an Apple employee?

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Update: A spokesperson for Beats Music confirmed to us that “Trent Reznor is still with Beats Music.”

Jimmy Iovine has long credited Nine Inch Nails frontman and Beats Music Chief Creative Officer Trent Reznor as a driving force behind the success of the service. Reznor, however, is now rumored to have left the company as it finalizes its $3B sell to Apple. The news comes from a line in a USA Today report over the weekend that curiously doesn’t mention a source of the information:

(Curiously, Beats’ chief creative officer, Trent Reznor, the singer-songwriter and producer of Nine Inch Nails fame responsible for Beats’ tastemaking, has reportedly left the company. Also, one of Beats’ principal technology executives, Fredric Vinna, has recently gone to Spotify, and its co-founder, Ola Sars, to a Spotify-backed venture.)

Beats Music didn’t respond to a request for comment on this story, but Billboard reports that a spokesperson for Beats and for Reznor claim the report is inaccurate: Read more

Beats acquisition could be delayed for a variety for reasons, including Dre’s early ‘announcement’ video

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While it was previously reported that the Apple buyout of Beats Electronics was supposed to be announced this week, Billboard has compiled a list of five different reasons the deal isn’t yet finalized according to its own sources.

A few of these potential hold-ups include issues determining Beats’ valuation and issues with finding a place for Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine to fit into Apple’s corporate structure. According to one of Billboard’s sources, Apple’s executives were “freaked out” by the video that surfaced a few weeks ago of Dr. Dre and Tyrese Gibson (accidentally) confirmed that a deal was in the works.

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Apple acquires beta testing platform TestFlight through Burstly purchase

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Apple has acquired Burstly, the company behind the popular beta testing platform Test Flight, TechCrunch reported (now confirmed by Recode). TestFlight recently pulled its SDK as well as Android support  prompting speculation that big changes were on the horizon. Some speculated that an Apple acquisition could behind it all and would make sense considering the fragmented beta testing experience for app developers. While neither company has commented publicly confirming the acquisition, we were pointed to hints of the acquisition just before TechCrunch reported the rumor as likely and later updated its reporting to note that the acquisition had already occurred… Read more

Google acquires smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash, Father of iPod now Google employee

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Google has confirmed in a press release that it is acquiring Nest Labs, the company behind Nest smart thermostats and fire alarms started by Father of the iPod Tony Fadell. Earlier reports were quickly confirmed along with the transaction price of $3.2 billion in cash in an official announcement posted on the company’s Investor website. In the statement, Google said that Fadell will be staying on board as a Google employee and continuing to run Nest:
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Apple completes buyout of PrimeSense, the 3D body sensor company responsible for Microsoft’s Kinect

Globes reports that Apple has completed its purchase of PrimeSense, the Israel-based firm behind the technology in Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, and Apple confirmed the acquisition to AllThingsD. As noted earlier this year, the deal will cost Apple somewhere between $300-350 million. PrimeSense previously denied any talks with Apple.

On Friday, the acquisition of Israeli gesture recognition company PrimeSense Ltd. by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) was closed. The deal, which has not been formally announced, was made at a company value of $300-350 million, and follows lengthy negotiations by PrimeSense with several potential buyers.

The sensor firm is no longer working with Microsoft, as the Xbox manufacturer has moved to all in-house work for its latest Kinect-based technology. With Apple reportedly working on a gesture-controlled 3D interface, possibly for some sort of television-related product (or a media hub to rival the Xbox One, perhaps?), the PrimeSense purchase makes perfect sense.

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Apple acquires Matcha.tv iOS streaming media aggregation and discovery tool

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Popular online media aggregation and discovery app for iOS, Matcha, suddenly disappeared from the App Store in late May without any explanation by the company or Apple. Tonight it became clear exactly what happened.

According to Venture Beat, Apple has acquired Matcha.tv for an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million. Although, the final total could be higher once the deal is completed. Unsurprisingly, Matcha.tv CEO Guy Piekarz declined to comment on the potential acquisition and Apple served Venture Beat their typical canned response that “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Matcha.tv launched in January of 2012 and steadily grew its fan base by providing an easy way to browse streaming movie and TV shows across all the major sources including Netflix, iTunes, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. During its time on the App Store it amassed a favorable 4.5 star rating from iTunes reviewers and was also received well by tech pundits. At first glance this service would seem as a nice way for Apple to fortify a full-fledged Apple TV service or expand their current offering with deeper airplay capabilities and controller integration. Tim Cook has repeatedly said that TV remains an area of “great interest” so it makes sense that they are arming themselves with the resources necessary to take their “hobby” to the next level.

Apple has already successfully completed several strategic acquisitions this year including Passif, a developer of low-power chipsets, and Hopstop, a mapping service.

Apple acquires Passif, a developer of low-power chipsets (for iWatch?)

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According to Jessica Lessin, Apple has acquired chip development firm Passif. The company’s chip technologies are focused on utilizing low-power and work with low-energy Bluetooth technologies.

As Apple moves towards smaller devices, the talent and resources of Passif will be critical. Apple reportedly tried to buy the firm a few years earlier, but was only able to strike a deal within recent months. We previously reported that Apple has been poaching several employees from other chip makers to work on the upcoming iWatch.

Apple confirmed the Passif acquisition. In recent weeks, Apple has also acquired mapping firms Locationary and HopStop.

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Report: Twitter to launch iOS music discovery app that offers recommendations based on who you follow

Twitter-Music-iOS-appwe_are_huntedAccording to a report from CNET, Twitter might be preparing to launch a new standalone iOS music app as early as the end of this month. The report cites “a person familiar with the matter” and claimed Twitter would use technology it acquired through its purchase of music discovery service We Are Hunted to provide a music service dubbed “Twitter Music.” CNET says the service will provide customized content suggestions based on who users follow on Twitter. It would also apparently integrate with SoundCloud and carry Twitter branding unlike the company’s recently launched video sharing app Vine:

Twitter Music suggests artists and songs to listen to based on a variety of signals, and is personalized based on which accounts a user follows on Twitter. Songs are streamed to the app via SoundCloud.

The report provided a breakdown of how the app works, explaining that it will offer suggested songs and artists based on Twitter followers, links to songs people are listening to through the hashtag #NowPlaying, and popular and emerging tracks for trending and newly popular artists: Read more