Historically, Apple has made relatively, small acquisitions. It has rarely acquired or purchased stakes in companies larger than $1B, preferring to buy small to medium-sized companies and then integrating.
Instead, Apple has invested massive amounts of its cash to buyback its own AAPL shares, on the order of 100’s-of-billions-of-dollars, rather than do mega-sized Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A).
Below are a list of a few “small-ish” companies that I think Apple should consider adding to their portfolio.
|Descript||Amazing technology that allows you to edit podcasts, videos, and transcripts by simply editing text.||Acquisition|
|GoPro||This brand has a huge following and would fit in well with Apple’s lifestyle brand of live-action, outdoors video footage. This is the video camera market leader for biking, hiking, running, surfing, ski diving, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. Not to mention their awe-inspiring commercials that seem Apple-like. Its market capitalization has currently dropped to around $600m, so might be good value-for-mindshare purchase. I see this as similar to the Beats Electronics acquisition by Apple. GoPro has a combination of hardware, software, and services. For Beats, this was headphones and speakers and a music subscription service — which ultimately lead to Apple Music. For GoPro, it has cameras, accessories, apps, and the GoPro Plus cloud subscription service. GoPro Plus might dovetail nicely with iCloud, somehow. Recently, GoPro started developing their own GoPro GP1 System-On-Chip (SoC). I could see these being replaced by Apple’s Axx series processors. Perhaps, GoPro cameras might also make a good long-term AR and VR investment for the rumored Apple Glasses.||Acquisition|
|Objective Development||This company makes Internet network traffic and security monitoring apps. Their products include: Little Snitch, which monitors Internet traffic; Micro Snitch, which monitors microphone and camera activity; and Internet Access Policy Viewer, to help determine what apps are supposed to connect to (specific servers or sites). Apple is a big proponent of privacy. Purchasing this company for its apps and talent would expand Apple’s security and privacy capabilities for end-users.||Acquisition|
|TextSniper||Capture text from graphics and digital documents.||Acquisition|
I’d like to see Apple expand their portfolio to include more 3D apps for power users, such as those in the fields of: 3D architecture design, computer graphics/special effects/raytracing, fashion design, and game development.
Convert some of these existing apps to utilize the Apple Metal APIs — most of these apps currently use the NVIDIA CUDA APIs and only run hardware-accelerated on NVIDIA GPUs. Since Macs don’t use NVIDIA CUDA or GPUs, only Windows/Linux versions of these apps with NVIDIA GPUS can have hardware acceleration. Utilizing the Metal APIs, would allow these apps to be hardware-accelerated on the Mac platform. This would be a huge plus for Mac power users and prevent them from having to switch to Windows or Linux for hardware acceleration. As Apple grows its footprint in 3D, it’s likely that many of these 3D applications will lead to future AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) use case opportunities — especially for the rumored Apple Glasses.
If Apple is unable to migrate these apps to Metal, they might consider hardware support CUDA (not currently supported by Apple) and OpenCL (being discontinued on Apple machines), in addition to Metal, so Apple users can have hardware acceleration, regardless of the underlying software frameworks
Maybe even allow the Apple AfterBurner Cards be updated to accelerate Apple Metal.
I can also envision a future where some of these apps not only work on MacOS, but also on iOS/iPadOS devices. Here are a few potential companies:
|Blender||The free and open-source 3D creation suite. Apple would not need to acquire Blender, as its open-source. However, Apple might consider contributing some engineering and financial resources to the Blender Development Fund to accelerate Blender integration with Apple Metal APIs.||Partnership|
|Chaos Group V-Ray||Similarly, with Blender, I’d like to see Apple partner with Chaos Group to accelerate V-Ray’s utilization of Metal APIs.||Partnership|
|CLO3D||3D Fashion Design software. Currently, relies on Chaos Group V-Ray rendering engine for CLO3D renders.||Acquisition|
|Lumion||Real-time 3D architectural visualization tool for architects, urban planners, and designers.||Acquisition|
|NVIDIA||Apple and NVIDIA have been in a cold war for a number of years. I’d like to see a cease-fire and some level of partnersip. A few things that would be nice are: Apple supporting CUDA, which would mean Apple would support NVIDIA GPUs. And vice versa, would also be nice if NVIDIA GPUs could support Apple Metal.||Partnership|
|OpenCL||Apple helped to create the OpenCL standard with the Khronos Group. Apple stopped supporting OpenCL on version 1.2, even though the OpenCL 3.0 spec was recently released. I’d like to see Apple continue to support OpenCL, in addition to Metal, and possibly CUDA (see above).||Partnership|
|Pixar RenderMan||Similarly, with Blender, I’d like to see Apple partner with Pixar to accelerate RenderMan’s utilization of Metal APIs. After all, once-upon-a-time, Pixar was a Steve Job’s company!||Partnership|
|RED||Partnership to accelerate playback and editing of RED’s R3D format on the Apple AfterBurner cards.||Partnership|
|Unity||Real-time 3D platform for games, animation, film, automotive, architecture, manufacturing, construction.||Partnership|
|2K||An Apple partnership to bring their popular esports (i.e. NBA 2K) games to Apple devices and maybe even make these a part of Apple Arcade.||Partnership|
|Activision||Leading game developer. Their biggest franchise is, “Call of Duty.”||Partnership|
|Electronic Arts||Leading game developer. Their popular games, include: NHL, FIFA, MADDEN, Command and Conquer.||Partnership|
Apple TV+ Channels
|Sports||Would love to see licensing deals with the major sports leagues, such as: MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL for live sports, as well as archived material. Perhaps each league can be an à la carte Apple TV+ subscription add-on.||Licensing|