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Starting with iPad, Apple began using its own Maps location databases

post #1 of 38
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Starting with iOS 3.2 for the iPad in April, Apple began relying on its own databases for location-based services, in addition to utilizing Google's map data for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

As first noted by TechCrunch, Apple revealed the change earlier this month in a letter to two U.S. congressmen, who inquired with the Cupertino, Calif., company about its privacy policy for the iOS mobile operating system. On page 5 of that 13-page letter, Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell revealed that beginning with iOS 3.2 on the iPad in April, his company began to integrate its own database solutions.

"For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless ("Skyhook") to provide location-based services," Sewell wrote. "Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes."

However, the default Maps application within iOS still reads "Google" in the lower left corner, showing that Apple continues to on the search giant for the maps themselves. In addition, all iOS devices still rely on Google's Street View feature as well.

But the change in iOS 3.2 means that Apple now controls its own location services, through GPS tracking, and could signal that Apple plans to rely solely on its own technology in the future.

Such a move wouldn't be completely unexpected, as Apple has made a number of key acquisitions related to mapping. Last year, it acquired Google Maps competitor Placebase, and this month it purchased Poly9, a Canadian company that creates interactive 3D maps.

Some have speculated that the acquisitions of Placebase and Poly9, along with the growing rivalry with search giant Google, is a sign that Apple plans to create its own mapping software for use on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Further evidence that Apple could pursue its own comprehensive mapping database came last November, when a company job listing sought to hire someone to help take the iPhone's Maps application "to the next level." It said that the company intended to "rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We've only just started."
post #2 of 38
Sounds good to me. It's going to take a while, but the less reliance on Google, the better. And not just because they are the main competitor right now (although that plays a part), but because 1) it is never good to have core services dictated and controlled by someone else, and 2) Google's (in)ability to safely retain and protect its users' data is disenchanting at best, alarming and borderline illegal at worst.
post #3 of 38
This article seems off.

I think you are confusing the mapping data (i.e., the maps with the street names, etc.) with the location data (i.e., position without GPS, using WiFi and cell tower triangulation). The latter is what SkyHook does.

I think Apple is still using Google maps for its mapping DB, but is no longer using SkyHook for its non-GPS positioning system.
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Google's (in)ability to safely retain and protect its users' data is disenchanting at best, alarming and borderline illegal at worst.

You are completely right, although, I think missing the most important incentive angle.

The most important thing to remember about Google, as opposed to MS or Apple, is what their product actually is.

Apple's product is an integrated Hardware/Software experience. MS's product is easy to integrate operating software for hardware makers.

Google's product is eyeballs, i.e., the users. IOW, the way they improve their product (and hence bottomline, esp. when the market reaches its peak) is by providing more customer information to advertisers.

With the iPhone, the iPhone is Apple's product. With Android, the user is Google's product.
post #5 of 38
You think the map they are using on iOS might be the same as they have in iPhoto for locating where your pictures were taken?

If it is, I think they are off to a reasonable start. I don't think the iPhoto map is quite as good as Google Maps (I've found myself doing a search on Google Maps to exactly pinpoint somewhere, then cross-referencing to the Apple one), but it looks good and is reasonably useable.
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

This article seems off.

I think you are confusing the mapping data (i.e., the maps with the street names, etc.) with the location data (i.e., position without GPS, using WiFi and cell tower triangulation). The latter is what SkyHook does.

I think Apple is still using Google maps for its mapping DB, but is no longer using SkyHook for its non-GPS positioning system.

I agree with you. They are talking about location services and not the maps used to display your location...
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Google's (in)ability to safely retain and protect its users' data is disenchanting at best, alarming and borderline illegal at worst.

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._contacts.html
post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

You are completely right, although, I think missing the most important incentive angle.

The most important thing to remember about Google, as opposed to MS or Apple, is what their product actually is.

Apple's product is an integrated Hardware/Software experience. MS's product is easy to integrate operating software for hardware makers.

Google's product is eyeballs, i.e., the users. IOW, the way they improve their product (and hence bottomline, esp. when the market reaches its peak) is by providing more customer information to advertisers.

With the iPhone, the iPhone is Apple's product. With Android, the user is Google's product.

Seeing it spelled out like that, makes it even more troubling. Once this smartphone market gets saturated and there are (theoretically) no more people to pull into it, does that mean Google will share more of each person's information until there is nothing left to keep secret? I would say "don't sign me up", but what alternative is there? All search companies do it, it seems.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

I agree with you. They are talking about location services and not the maps used to display your location...

Apple also owns mapping technology, and they are speculating that, in the future, they will also replace Google Maps with their own technology, which is very likely.
post #10 of 38
Quote:

I'm not sure what you were trying to say, but looking at the numbers, yes, more apps have access to my information on my iPhone, but that is not what troubles me. What troubles me is the ability and willingness to keep that information anonymous and private, which Google seems to not even be concerned about doing.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Seeing it spelled out like that, makes it even more troubling. Once this smartphone market gets saturated and there are (theoretically) no more people to pull into it, does that mean Google will share more of each person's information until there is nothing left to keep secret? I would say "don't sign me up", but what alternative is there? All search companies do it, it seems.

The alternative is to outlaw these activities that undermine the fabric of our society. Without privacy, there is no freedom, and, without freedom, there is no privacy.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Apple also owns mapping technology, and they are speculating that, in the future, they will also replace Google Maps with their own technology, which is very likely.

I wouldn't like the loss of street view.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As first noted by TechCrunch, Apple revealed the change earlier this month in a letter to two U.S. congressmen, who inquired with the Cupertino, Calif., company about its privacy policy for the iOS mobile operating system.

Actually, TechCrunch was not the first to note this; we wrote about it nine days ago: http://arst.ch/lpd
post #14 of 38
I suppose that's one less data leek. Controlling location information can be very valuable. I'd bet they'll tie that into iAd somehow. Imagine walking into Walmart or Macys and getting iAds on your phone specific to that store. That's probably a version or two down the road.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

I wouldn't like the loss of street view.

My thought exactly. Base mapping and satellite photos are relatively easy to replace, but the street view data that Google has amassed is almost impossible to replicate. Add to that, Apple already has far better integration of street view into the Map app on the iPad than Google does at maps.google.com.
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post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Further evidence that Apple could pursue its own comprehensive mapping database came last November, when a company job listing sought to hire someone to help take the iPhone's Maps application "to the next level." It said that the company intended to "rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We've only just started."

This may be related to the more recent "revolutionary" job posting being discussed in the last few days. Perhaps this killer new feature IS an augmented reality thingy. Although that would be a better fit for iOS than OSX.
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post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

I suppose that's one less data leek.


I assume you meant leak (verb) instead of leek (noun) since I have never heard of a giant green onion-like tuber passing on information.




(Intended to be humorous - not anal!)
post #18 of 38
my question is: if they are no longer using SkyHook for their location services - how do you submit a wireless basestation to Apple? You could submit your wireless MAC address to Skyhook and it would add your location to their database, hopefully Apple allows for this soon too.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

This may be related to the more recent "revolutionary" job posting being discussed in the last few days. Perhaps this killer new feature IS an augmented reality thingy. Although that would be a better fit for iOS than OSX.

I doubt that there is a connection between this and the job posting. I do not however doubt that Apple is probably working on an operating system (or mods to OS X) using 3D since this has been heavily explored in the past (see Taligent's Pink OS) by Apple and partners (IBM, et al).

The metaphor is a good extension to existing flat desktop with menu that hide away.

I would actually be surprised if later versions of iOS and OS X (or it's follow on) did not have some sort of augmented reality along with judicious use of virtual 3D interface.
post #20 of 38
This explains why the iOS 4 upgrade screwed up my geolocation at home. I live in a high rise in a congested city. It takes a while for my phone to get a GPS lock, and in the mean time it jumps my location estimate around over a 5-10 block radius based on all the cell towers and Wifi networks it sees. I solved this previously by registering my base station with Skyhook. That meant when I turned on my phone it instantly knew exactly where I was at home. That stopped working when I upgraded to iOS 4, and now I know why. Apple's geolocation database doesn't have my wifi registered, and likely never will because I am so high up in the building that a car driving around on the street collecting data won't notice me.

Same question as asked previously: how do we register a base station location with Apple? This is a place where their emphasis on simplicity and limited options hurts me.
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilo View Post

This explains why the iOS 4 upgrade screwed up my geolocation at home

There's a long thread in the Apple forums about Location Service being wacky since the iOS4 fiasco. Maybe this is the reason why. Since Apple obviously never left the labs to test the OS on 3Gs, they probably didn't test whether Locations could be found either.
post #22 of 38
"Apple continues to on the search giant " - apple insider

Gotta fix that.

Anyways, I think bing has a street view feature as well, I don't think they are using google's images, so it's not impossible to replicate. Just costly.

That said since apple is diversifying their search providers, why not offer Google AND Bing interface for maps. Geolocation handled by Apple and would be maps provider independent. In a few years time Apple could actually amass enough images to launch their own service (if still necessary).
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post #23 of 38
The iPhone is the killer app for killer apps.

Apple has the strongest single built in outlet for whatever they want to do now.

Google has committed an ethical "no-no" buy being on Apples board while creating a competing product.

they entered the phone business, so Apple enters the Maps business.

Next, they will being a service that gets you to the "core" of the internet.

You know what that will be? Apple will have entered the "search" business.

It will start on the iPhone and Mac OS X.7

i am sure that Jobs still has good relations with Google, but he also wouldn't mind them being subservient to him.

I think the worst enemy you can have in tech is Steve Jobs with an agenda of vengeance. It is not pretty. He does alright moving things along naturally, but give that man a mission to "right" some "wrong" and the world turns over.
post #24 of 38
It makes sense that Apple would want to have control over this feature. They have different design requirements then google and this is central to a lot of apps. I doubt this really has to do with any sort or rivalry. Apple's engineers defend their turf. These decisions are always made for engineering reasons, not marketing reasons.
post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

all iOS devices still rely on Google's Street View feature as well.


Do I have Google Street View on my iOS devices? If so where do I access it?

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post #26 of 38
Quote:
...I think the worst enemy you can have in tech is Steve Jobs with an agenda of vengeance. It is not pretty. He does alright moving things along naturally, but give that man a mission to "right" some "wrong" and the world turns over.

Amelio learned that real quick when he was just spinning on his own axis and having Steve as his special consultant doing nothing and revealing to Steve that he knew nothing about how to best leverage NeXT with Apple.

Things changed like flicking a switch the day the board ousted Gil and us NeXT folks finally got to get off the side lines.
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


I assume you meant leak (verb) instead of leek (noun) since I have never heard of a giant green onion-like tuber passing on information.

I have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

(Intended to be humorous - not anal!)

post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Do I have Google Street View on my iOS devices? If so where do I access it?

Yes, on your iPhone, in the Maps application. But not all locations have it. If the pin drop has a "person" icon beside it, click on it to see Street View. As an example, go to Maps, search for "Empire State Building". Click on the person icon beside the pin drop.
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

This article seems off.

I think you are confusing the mapping data (i.e., the maps with the street names, etc.) with the location data (i.e., position without GPS, using WiFi and cell tower triangulation). The latter is what SkyHook does.

I think Apple is still using Google maps for its mapping DB, but is no longer using SkyHook for its non-GPS positioning system.

I agree, if you review the original ARS Technica article, this appears to be the case.

Apple probably has a database of AT&T towers and hotspots and is now using this for triangulation. This probably works well enough to make SkyHook unnecessary.

I doubt Apple would be interested in spending the time/money to try and keep all of the world accurately mapped. As long as 3rd-party providers remain relatively "open", Apple would probably rather focus on finding new ways to use this data in useful ways.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

The iPhone is the killer app for killer apps.

Apple has the strongest single built in outlet for whatever they want to do now.

Google has committed an ethical "no-no" buy being on Apples board while creating a competing product.

they entered the phone business, so Apple enters the Maps business.

Next, they will being a service that gets you to the "core" of the internet.

You know what that will be? Apple will have entered the "search" business.

It will start on the iPhone and Mac OS X.7

i am sure that Jobs still has good relations with Google, but he also wouldn't mind them being subservient to him.

I think the worst enemy you can have in tech is Steve Jobs with an agenda of vengeance. It is not pretty. He does alright moving things along naturally, but give that man a mission to "right" some "wrong" and the world turns over.

Which is probably why Google entered the phone business in the first place. Apple dominating the smartphone market gives them huge power. They can easily switch from using Google services like maps or search to those of a rival. Most people just use the default options. Google needed to release Android to ensure no one company gains a smartphone monopoly that can be used against Google.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Which is probably why Google entered the phone business in the first place. Apple dominating the smartphone market gives them huge power. They can easily switch from using Google services like maps or search to those of a rival. Most people just use the default options. Google needed to release Android to ensure no one company gains a smartphone monopoly that can be used against Google.

Like Google does with Search?
post #32 of 38
In the 90's Apple almost went under on the perception that it MS would not maintain Word/Office - particularly in terms of cross platform compatibility. Apple never wants to be dependent again on any third party for what is a core functionality.

For example, Safari was developed so that Apple could assure that there would always be at least one browser that would function correctly, according to the open specs, and run their web applications (MobileMe mail, galleries, etc.).
post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Google needed to release Android to ensure no one company gains a smartphone monopoly that can be used against Google.

They also wanted to expand their ad business into the mobile space, and again ( as you noted) be assured of access.

Personally, I think the competition is a good thing. I have faith in Apple's ability to stay ahead of the innovation curve, but I would not want to see them go totally unchallenged.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Seeing it spelled out like that, makes it even more troubling. Once this smartphone market gets saturated and there are (theoretically) no more people to pull into it, does that mean Google will share more of each person's information until there is nothing left to keep secret? I would say "don't sign me up", but what alternative is there? All search companies do it, it seems.

My understanding is that Ask don't http://www.ask.com . If you turn on the Eraser feature, they say they will not keep any record of your search history.

If you use multiple search engines and don't just slavishly use one, then no one company has a complete record of your activities.

Google Analytics is the one I really don't like.
post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

My understanding is that Ask don't http://www.ask.com . If you turn on the Eraser feature, they say they will not keep any record of your search history.

If you use multiple search engines and don't just slavishly use one, then no one company has a complete record of your activities.

Google Analytics is the one I really don't like.

There's also scroogle...

http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

They are just a proxy to google, so it's the same search information and they don't store the information for long.
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post #36 of 38
Good, I'm all for Apple being independent of other services.
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post #37 of 38
Apple can make pretty devices, but if they get into software again they will fail hard again. And LOL at them trying to implement anything that involves a server or a search feature.
post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by fulldecent View Post

Apple can make pretty devices, but if they get into software again they will fail hard again. And LOL at them trying to implement anything that involves a server or a search feature.

OSX is software. Did that fail hard? iOS is software. Failed hard? iWork is software. Did it fail hard? Filemaker is software, has it failed hard? Final Cut? Aperture? Safari? iPhoto? iMovie? All hard fails?

I don't know about search engines, but I'd be surprised if they entered that market. Microsoft has been failing hard in that business for decades.
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