Apple has been on a shopping spree as of late as the company makes moves to bolster itself against increased competition. The latest acquisition comes in the form of a startup called Swell, the developer of a podcast streaming app.
From what we've come to understand, Swell is one of the most popular platforms for podcasts, as it is able to deliver a personalized collection of audio-based content. The app itself is capable of learning from user's listening activity, and will provide content based on the user's preferences and the wisdom of the community.
We view this as a different approach compared to Beats Music's editor curated, and it is also a leap forward when compared to the old school approach.
Our best guess right now is that instead of rebranding the app, Apple will implement Swell's technology into iTunes and or iTunes Radio. According to re/code, the technology website that first reported the news, Swell will be shut down as terms of the acquisition.
"Thank you for using Swell over the past year. We wanted to let you know that the Swell service is no longer available. We've been inspired by the opportunity to create quality products that positively impact users' lives, and we are grateful to all our listeners," according to Swell on its website. "Thank you everyone for your support!"
This acquisition, while only costing Apple $30 million, is not a minor one by any means. It could help to boost the amount of time Americans listen to music, and if that extra time is being spent on iTunes, Apple will be the major benefactor.
Furthermore, Swell's technology could help Apple position iTunes as a major player in automobiles, which is where many Americans spend their time listening to something. Usually, this is done via the FM and AM radio.
This isn't Apple's first foray into podcasting. The company has its own in-house podcast app available right now in the App Store, though it is not well liked. User reviews so far see the app with 1.5 out of 5 rating, very terrible for something developed by Apple.
Apple isn't the only company showing increased interest in curated, streaming content. Google and Amazon are both making moves in this space, so before long, it's going to be extremely crowded. Recently, Google acquired Songza, an Internet-based radio service that offers playlists based on activity and mood.
Amazon on the other hand, is well position with its Prime Music service that offers a selection of handcrafted playlists.