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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 821member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 821member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    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...
  • Reply 6 of 37
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 37
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member


    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.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 37
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 37
    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
  • Reply 13 of 37
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,173member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,173member
    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!)
  • Reply 17 of 37
    bcodebcode Posts: 137member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,173member
    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.

  • Reply 19 of 37
    iloilo Posts: 6member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    deletedelete Posts: 46member
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.