Apple chief executive Tim Cook has revealed the firm has acquired 15 businesses in the last 12 months. The purchases reveal Apple's long-term strategy for improving specific software and hardware functionality, but the total leaves seven of Apple's buys unaccounted for.
Speaking on the firm's fourth quarter earnings call Cook said: "We completed 15 strategic acquisitions. That's an average of one acquisition every three to four weeks." This has led to speculation about what the other deals may have been.
Apple's eight publically-acknowledged acquisitions generally focus on software which is expected to improve its iOS mapping software. Apple Maps came under heavy fire when it replaced Google Maps as the iPhone's default navigation service.
Navigation-related purchases include Hopstop and Embark, both highly-popular apps which focus on walking and public transport information, something which was notably absent from the initial release of Apple Maps. Apple also bought WiFiSlam, a startup specialised in indoor navigation, creating the potential for providing users with directions in large, internet-connected buildings such as shopping malls.
Business mapping firm Locationary was also taken under Apple's wing in August, bolstering Maps' relatively unimpressive business and tourist attraction data.
Low energy chip manufacturer Passif Semiconductor was bought by Apple in August and is expected to help improve battery life on Apple's portable products with less power-hungry components.
The firm also bought data compression firm AlgoTrim, presumably to eventually help buyers in countries where mobile data is expensive to reduce their phone bills. Siri-equivalent Cue and music recommendation service Matcha round off public buys for 2013.
The seven remaining purchases remain a complete mystery, adding fuel to the flames of rumour surrounding new product areas for Apple. Cupertino has still not yet confirmed its highly-anticipated iWatch device, but being a totally new product line for the firm, it is highly likely some new technologies will find their way in.
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