When you ask Siri "What song is playing?", you're actually talking to Shazam, one of the oldest services out there for mobile phones — it launched in 1999 (!). It's not just a long-running app, however: Shazam is also a superb service for audiovisual identification, and if this report from TechCrunch's Ingrid Lunden and Katie Roof is correct, we may see it officially come under the Apple umbrella.
TechCrunch is currently reporting a potential deal in the nine-figure range (around $401 million) that could be signed by the weekend and officially announced Monday. While less than half of Shazam's official valuation, it's still a hefty chunk of change; that said, Apple isn't exactly hurting for cash at the moment.
But "can" is not the same as "should." Does it make sense for Apple to acquire Shazam, rather than continue to license its technology? After all, Shazam and Apple have been partners for several years — Shazam currently provides Siri with music identification powers. But pulling the app in-house could allow Apple to more thoroughly integrate Shazam's search technology with its products. Audio search is already a huge market for Apple with the Apple TV's voice commands, and I can see it further helping augment the device's capabilities as well as shoring up any HomePod deficiencies.
There's also the question of how the company's image recognition engine might benefit Apple's AR experience: In addition to its musical prowess, Shazam offers a QR-style "augmented experience" for partner brands. Though the technology itself isn't particularly wow-worthy, the engineering talent Apple might nab as part of the acquisition might be the real secret weapon here.
What do you think? Should Apple acquire Shazam, or forget about it?
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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.