Apple's plans: Mapping apps

Want ads hint of Apple's next ventures into navigation software.

Apple may be looking to release its own mapping and navigation software with future products, according to a few new job listings on its website.

The listings say the company is looking to hire four (or more) developers for its iOS team who have experience developing navigation software. New hires will "seize this ground floor opportunity to help us build the world's best hosted platforms at massive scale," at the Santa Clara Valley location to help "deliver the next generation of Apple products."

Apple is looking for people with more than three years of experience "developing high quality, robust software systems." It's a plus if they have "deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory."

The default Maps app for iOS has been using Google for imaging since the first iPhone was released in 2007. Now that Google has emerged as a strong contender in the mobile operating system world, it stands to reason that Apple would look to minimize its reliance on the search giant's services.

The new listings aren't the first hint that Apple is moving into the mapping arena.

Apple ditched relying on location information from Skyhook and Google with the launch of iOS 3.2 on the iPad, in favor of using its own database. The company also bought mapping software company Poly9 in July and Placebase in July 2009.

Placebase stayed competitive with Google Maps by offering customizations, including an easy way for companies to add layered data sets to its maps.

Back in November 2009, Apple posted a job for someone that could help "take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things."

Looks like that coder could use a little help.

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Paul Suarez

PC World (US online)
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