Apple said Friday that it had acquired Burstly, a small Santa Monica-based company that lets developers make their apps available for testing by outside users.
The acquisition was first reported by TechCrunch and later confirmed by an Apple spokeswoman. No price was disclosed.
Although Apple has restrictions on how widely companies can beta test apps on its iOS platform, third-party companies such as Burstly have allowed developers to reach more users. However, Burstly recently told developers that its TestFlight service would no longer be available for Google's Android platform.
The acquisition, though small, may signal that Apple is thinking about making internal changes to its own app-testing systems and terms of service.
The deal is also part of Apple's quiet acceleration of its pace of acquisitions.
In comparison to other Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Facebook, Apple has never made any mega-acquisitions. The company's biggest deal last year was $345 million for a semiconductor company.
Still, it's starting to think bigger.
In its latest securities filings, Apple disclosed that it had spent $525 million on deals in the quarter ending Dec. 30, 2013. That was twice as much as it had spent in the entire previous fiscal year.