updated 04:57 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Value of deal kept secret
As rumored yesterday, Apple has indeed bought Swell, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company has refused to provide any other information, issuing a standard statement that "we buy smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Monday's claims put the value of the takeover at $30 million.
It's believed that Apple could be looking to improve Podcasts, an app that has been disliked since it was broken out of iOS' built-in Music. Swell presents radio/podcast content in the form of Pandora-like streams, which are served automatically, but can be personalized by skipping episodes. The app also has a cleaner and more attractive interface than Podcasts, including a simplified in-car option. That could have implications for Apple's CarPlay platform.
Rumors have indicated that "much" of the Swell team will join Apple. These people will presumably be put to work on the iOS software development team.