Apple To Take on Google Maps
It seems Apple will be muscling in on Google Maps.
After acquiring Web-based map company Poly 9 and Google Maps competitor, Placebase, Apple is rumored to also have acquired Swedish 3D mapping company C3 Technologies. It is reported to have cost Apple US$250 million.
These acquisitions were done in a two year period.
Signs that Apple will be getting into this field have been observed.
1. The FAQ on Siri notes that maps and local search support are currently only available in the U.S. Support for additional countries will come in 2012.
2. AppleInsider discovered two job listings for the position of "iOS Maps Application Developer."
3. Patent applications of Apple show that they will be using future iPhones to generate 3D models of an object or place.
4. Apple filed an application entitled "Augmented Reality Maps" that would overlay data such as directions or street names in real time on top of live video.
5. Apple filed for a patent for "Schematic Maps". The patent covers a mapping application that would dynamically emphasize or exaggerate details of places.
When and how Apple will launch this service is still unknown. But with Apple's penchant for quickly building a consumer base and even taking a chunk of the market share on segments they have no experience with(as seen with the iPod, iPad, and iPhone), Google cannot afford to take this lightly.
C3 Chief Strategy Officer Paul Smith statement about their company's technology may be foreboding, "Unlike Google or Bing, all of our maps are 360° explorable. Everything, every building, every tree, every landmark, from the city center to the suburbs, is captured in 3D—not just a few select buildings..."