updated 11:23 am EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Could give iOS Pandora-like podcast feeds
Apple is on the verge of buying out Swell, a radio and podcast streaming app for iOS, sources say. The deal is reportedly worth $30 million, and if completed should result in the shutdown of the app's services sometime this week. While Swell has a dedicated fanbase, it's also said to have had trouble finding users beyond that group. An Android app was in beta testing but never released.
"Much" of the Swell team is expected to join Apple. As for the latter's plans, the company may be hoping to improve Podcasts. The app has proven unpopular since it was broken out of iOS' native Music functions. Users have complained about problems like poor performance, an awkward interface, and inconsistent sync services.
Swell operates somewhat like Pandora, in that users start from a specific show or topic; by either continuing to listen or swiping to the next show, the app gradually builds up a preference profile, picking new content with better accuracy. Apple could be planning to build a similar feature into Podcasts. It might also want to absorb elements of Swell's cleaner interface.