In a rather unusual acquisition, Apple has bought-out a developer from its very own App Store. No figures are available and details are likely to remain sparse, but the start-up's well-designed and eerily accurate voice navigation app may be a hint of things to come.
Describing its self-titled app as a "Virtual Personal Assistant", Siri has developed a free iPhone/iPad app which is adept at parsing natural, spoken language. Siri processes your verbal input and provides to you relevant information that is specific to your location. The app sports a very polished UI and downright impressive voice recognition: perhaps two good reasons Apple gobbled them up in the first place. For example, if you ask Siri, "Where can I buy a burrito" it will show you a list of nearby eateries which sell burritos. Additionally, for websites that support Siri, asking phrases like, "What movies are playing at 4PM near me?" may not only find movies, but actually take you through the process of buying tickets too.
While Apple is typically hush hush regarding its intentions for humbler acquisitions, the very nature of this buyout is suggestive. Applying Siri's technology to finally provide native voice navigation to iPhone and iPad users seems like the most obvious possibility, but perhaps Apple is planning more. Exploiting this type of voice-driven service with location aware advertising offers great value and might fall in line with Apple's recent interest in mobile advertising. Could this be Apple preparing to dance with Google's Voice Search?