Apple has acquired a company called Pop Up Archive, according to Nicholas Quah of NeimanLab (via 9to5Mac). The short version of what this company does is making it possible to transcribe, organize, and search audio files. While we don’t know what Apple will do with the technology, it could use it to make podcasts searchable.
Apple Statement on Purchasing Pop Up Archive
In keeping with its usual practices, Apple didn’t specifically acknowledge the purchase, but it did give NeimanLab this statement:
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
In the past, Apple has used this boilerplate statement to acknowledge a corporate acquisition without offering any kind of specific comment on it. That’s most likely the case here, too.
Pop Up Archive Services Shut Down
As noted in the screenshot above, Pop Up Archive shut its services down in November, something that is common with an Apple acquisition. Apple’s usual plan for purchased companies is to integrate the people and/or technologies of that company in existing products and projects.
Podcasts have long felt like one of those concepts or products that Apple forgets soon after launching or supporting it. This purchase suggests that’s not the case at all. I like the way Mr. Quah put it in his piece:
I’m pretty sure you can put two and two together with what’s on paper: Apple, long the dominant hands-off steward of the podcast universe, has acquired a technology dedicated to increasing the knowability and sortability of the hundreds of thousands of shows distributed through its Apple Podcast platform. This, as you can imagine, has widespread implications for the ecosystem.
Increasing the knowability and sortability of podcasts would be a huge boon to users and podcasters alike. I look forward to seeing what Apple does with the technology.