Apple has been on an acquisition streak this year, with CEO Tim Cook noting that his firm acquired 15 companies in 2013 during a recent earnings call. With only ten of those companies officially confirmed by Cupertino, five still remained a mystery. Today, 9to5Mac claims to know two of them, and reported that Apple acquired online mapping firm BroadMap in early 2013 and Catch, a note-taking app, more recently.
BroadMap, a mapping firm that's worked with Nokia and MapQuest in the past, offers technology focused on organizing, managing and analyzing mapping data, which could be used to improve Maps for both iOS and OS X on a fundamental level. According to 9to5Mac's sources, the firm was acquired by Apple in the first half of 2013 in a deal that included the majority of BroadMap's executive team as well as its technology. The evidence was spotted on LinkedIn, where a number of BroadMap execs now list Apple as their employer.
Prior to its rumored acquisition, Catch offered an Evernote-style note taking app for both iOS and Android devices. The same company also operated an Android-only app called Compass which let the user leave personal notes based on their physical location. The company mysteriously shut down in August shortly after launching a new enterprise product, explaining that it was headed in another direction. 9to5Mac's sources claim most of the Catch team is now working on iOS-related projects for Apple, which likely range from cloud-based services to Maps to improved Notes and Reminders apps.
While smaller startups get bought all the time in Silicon Valley, Apple's acquisitions have a particular significance. Newly purchased companies generally find their way into future Apple products and services. Apple has been trying to beef up its Maps application with more features, like implementation with iBeacon, for example, so we may see some of this tech end up in iCloud and Maps services. Cupertino also typically limits its number of acquisitions; only five firms were acquired in 2012, suggesting that the company may be gearing up for something bigger in 2014.
Update: BroadMap is denying claims that it has been acquired by Apple, despite evidence on its CEO's LinkedIn Page.
Seems fishy, we'll keep you in the loop if anything changes.
Update 2: The Tweet we originally embedded above that denied 9to5Mac's report has been deleted. Perhaps Apple did indeed acquire BroadMap as originally reported.