“One company used sensors to read body movements. Another recommended TV programs. Several others offered location and mapping services.,” Brian X. Chen reports for The New York Times. “All of them had at least one thing in common: They were among the more than 20 relatively small companies Apple says it has bought within the last 15 months.”

“The company has avoided jaw-dropping takeovers in favor of a series of smaller deals, using the companies to buttress or fill a gap in products that already exist or are in development,” Chen reports. “Still, in the past few years, Apple has gradually increased its overall spending on these acquisitions. In the last quarter, for instance, Apple spent $525 million on acquisitions, nearly double what it spent in the same period a year ago. And while the deals may be small — particularly given Apple’s nearly $160 billion cash hoard — they offer a window into where the secretive company is headed and which products and services it is trying to build or improve.”

“Apple’s biggest acquisition last year was PrimeSense, a company with about 150 employees that Apple bought for $300 million to $350 million, according to reports. PrimeSense developed sensors that helped Microsoft let Xbox owners control games using body movements, and some analysts say Apple could eventually apply PrimeSense’s skills and technology to a television set,” Chen reports. “Apple also bought Matcha.tv, a service that recommended things to watch on TV, another acquisition that signals its strong interest in the living room.”

Tons more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Bill" for the heads up.]