Apple bulking up iOS development team with navigation software experts

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple this week put out a call for a number of new software engineers for its iOS development team, indicating it wants candidates that have experience developing navigation software.



The four new job listings (1, 2, 3, 4) are all identical, suggesting that Apple is looking to hire at least four new employees for its iOS development team. The description for the full-time job based in Santa Clara Valley, Calif., calls for "outstanding engineers to deliver the next generation of Apple products."



"Seize this ground floor opportunity to help us build the world's best hosted platforms at massive scale," it reads.



Apple seeks job candidates with "valuable knowledge" related to the development of navigation software, as well as "deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory." Candidates are required to have at least 3 years' experience of developing "high quality, robust software systems."



The hires, and the mention of navigation software, could signal that Apple is gearing up to build its own personal navigation tools into the iOS mobile operating system. Apple's chief competitor in the mobile space, Google, introduced its own turn-by-turn software for Android devices over a year ago.



A cloud-based navigation solution could also be a major use for Apple's new massive data center in North Carolina. Another job listing posted this week for an iOS software engineer notes that it looking for an employee to manage and automate "distributed image processing on a server cluster."







"The position is with an emerging and rapidly growing product team building software used by millions of Apple customers in rapidly growing markets worldwide," the description reads. "The candidate will be part of a team that develops and maintains a complex array of global content."



iOS 4 also includes a video out feature that could allow remote control and display of an iPhone, a feature that has already been taken advantage of by BMW. It's possible that Apple's solution could seamlessly integrate turn-by-turn directions with a vehicle using this method.



Apple has also shown interest in developing its own unique mapping solution for the iPhone, with two key acquisitions related to maps: Placebase and Poly9.



In April of this year, Apple began integrating its own databases for location-based services following the release of the iPad and iOS 3.2. Previously, Apple relied on databases maintained by Skyhook Wireless and Google for location services.



The iOS Maps application still relies on Google for map imagery as well as its "Street View," but the change could signal that Apple plans to rely solely on its own technology in the future. In addition, in 2009, Apple indicated it wanted to hire someone who would help take the iPhone's Maps application "to the next level," with the intention of changing how users use Maps and find things.



"We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way," that job listing read. "We've only just started."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    Apple should seriously consider making a visual software development platform or increase Interface Builder's capabilities by adding more preset behaviors.



    Programming for iOS can get very tedious for the simplest tasks, and I feel that Apple can do a lot better.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Buy Tom Tom.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    Buy Tom Tom.



    TomTom?s valuation is $1.7 Billion. I think it?s way too rich for their blood. I also don?t think it would be a great move for Apple since they are already getting 30% of TomTom?s app sales on iDevices without doing anything.



    PS: TomTom for iPhone is pretty great.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    Buy Tom Tom.



    ...or The National Geographic Society.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,066member
    Maybe this is more to do with the birth of some kind of Apple Maps in general rather than specifically driving software such as Tom Tom et al. If Apple were to enter this field their previous acquisitions such as Siri may make for a new and novel twist on the approach rather than just another Google Maps as Bing is.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Maybe this is more to do with the birth of some kind of Apple Maps in general rather than specifically driving software such as Tom Tom et al. If Apple were to enter this field their previous acquisitions such as Siri may make for a new and novel twist on the approach rather than just another Google Maps as Bing is.



    I think that is their focus, too. Google Map 5.0 for Android has a bunch of nifty features that I’d expect Apple to also be working on. Like offline viewing, considerably faster map loading, and 3D building overlays.
    Does anyone have a solid idea why Apple bought those mapping companies? IOW, do they have some really future forward ideas about mapping?
  • Reply 7 of 32
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    Apple should seriously consider making a visual software development platform or increase Interface Builder's capabilities by adding more preset behaviors.



    Programming for iOS can get very tedious for the simplest tasks, and I feel that Apple can do a lot better.



    Totally disagree. Apple would do better to drop Interface Builder altogether. Interface Builder was a tack on at the last minute to make user interfaces easier to build, but the code underneath NIBs is very inefficient. That's why iOS was designed without IB and it was added on for drag-and-drop programmers who didn't have the skills required. IB was left out as it's loading was extremely inefficient, and none of Apple's on-device apps use it at all for that reason.



    As a previous Apple employee on the UIKit team, and a full time developer, I don't use IB at all, and strip my code of it entirely. With 5 lines of code I can lay the foundations of a brilliant application. My loadup times for interfaces trample IB at approximately 3 times the speed.



    It's not about things being fiddly. It's about the fact coding isn't for the layman - there is a lot of skill required to know the best ways to do things.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    license Bing Maps which is a lot cooler than Google Maps



    it's like the old Virtual Earth MS had. it was pretty cool for it's time but MS can't seem to figure out how to make money on anything except Windows, Server and X-Box
  • Reply 9 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,066member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I think that is their focus, too. Google Map 5.0 for Android has a bunch of nifty features that I’d expect Apple to also be working on. Like offline viewing, considerably faster map loading, and 3D building overlays.[INDENT]• http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/16/g...iew-and-offli/



    Wow that 3D overlay is cool - assuming there is an accurate 3D representation of the area you are in I guess - is that a Google addition or relying on enduser uploads? Is this coming to iOS too do you know? If not is that a technical or a marketing decision?
  • Reply 10 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    license Bing Maps which is a lot cooler than Google Maps



    it's like the old Virtual Earth MS had. it was pretty cool for it's time but MS can't seem to figure out how to make money on anything except Windows, Server and X-Box



    No street view any more, which is not a good news. Also many apps has to rewrite!
  • Reply 11 of 32
    All I hope is that this is a sign that a dedicated GPS chip gets into the next iPod touch. Facebook for iPhone's new check-in features, and other location-based apps and services (including potential advertising?), would be nice to have in non-3G devices.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A cloud-based navigation solution could also be a major use for Apple's new massive data center in North Carolina. Another job listing posted this week for an iOS software engineer notes that it looking for an employee to manage and automate "distributed image processing on a server cluster."



    Emphasis mine.



    This caught my eye.



    Why does Apple want an iOS engineer developing distributed image processing software on a server cluster?



    Just what comprises distributed image processing?





    Does that imply:



    -- that the server is running iOS?

    -- that the server is ARM based?

    -- that the server resides in North Carolina?

    -- that the server resides in the back office of enterprise?

    -- that the server resides in the home?

    -- that the software will be used for Pro Apps, E.g. Final Cut, et al?

    -- that the software will be used by ProSumer Apps, e.g. iMovie, iPhoto. etc.?

    -- that Apple is planning on providing a high-volume image processing service.

    -- that Apple is planning on introducing an iDevice with increased image-creation capability?



    All sorts of interesting possibilities here -- ranging from ARM servers to iPhones, iPads and iPods.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    TomTom’s valuation is $1.7 Billion. I think it’s way too rich for their blood. I also don’t think it would be a great move for Apple since they are already getting 30% of TomTom’s app sales on iDevices without doing anything.



    PS: TomTom for iPhone is pretty great.



    Navigon navigation is awesome for the iPhone - have been using for almost 2 years. Wonder what Navigon would cost - they are mostly in Europe, from what I understand, and used the iOS as the introduction to the us market - used to be much better than TomTom, but haven't compared them lately.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    With google now rolling out map updates for android first, I think this is a good idea.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I think that is their focus, too. Google Map 5.0 for Android has a bunch of nifty features that I?d expect Apple to also be working on. Like offline viewing, considerably faster map loading, and 3D building overlays.
    Does anyone have a solid idea why Apple bought those mapping companies? IOW, do they have some really future forward ideas about mapping?



    I played with the map apps on the site -- they were pretty neat.



    The "mapping" quality was nothing special as maps are concerned -- MapQuest, Google, et al have better quality maps on the web.



    What was unique is that you could script overlays for the maps to present demographic data -- e.g. the median house income breakdown by political party for Pasadena.



    What Apple appeared to be buying was:

    -- basic mapping capability,

    -- scripting/overlay capability

    -- in place, contractual sources for demographic data



    Apple could provide these capabilities in an app, or use the maps, themselves, to sell, customize and report advertising.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    Apple should seriously consider making a visual software development platform or increase Interface Builder's capabilities by adding more preset behaviors.



    Programming for iOS can get very tedious for the simplest tasks, and I feel that Apple can do a lot better.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Totally disagree. Apple would do better to drop Interface Builder altogether. Interface Builder was a tack on at the last minute to make user interfaces easier to build, but the code underneath NIBs is very inefficient. That's why iOS was designed without IB and it was added on for drag-and-drop programmers who didn't have the skills required. IB was left out as it's loading was extremely inefficient, and none of Apple's on-device apps use it at all for that reason.



    As a previous Apple employee on the UIKit team, and a full time developer, I don't use IB at all, and strip my code of it entirely. With 5 lines of code I can lay the foundations of a brilliant application. My loadup times for interfaces trample IB at approximately 3 times the speed.



    It's not about things being fiddly. It's about the fact coding isn't for the layman - there is a lot of skill required to know the best ways to do things.



    I actually agree with both of you.



    The XCode 4 beta is an improvement!



    Apple should expand the IB integration with more controls and drag and drop.



    Apple should eliminate all the XML bloat, in IB and elsewhere -- it is verbose, wasting RAM and storage, and time-consuming to parse/encode.





    Some classes (or portions) of high-use/high-performance apps need to be coded closer to the iron than allowed by the more-general IB approach. I gan see a high=performance game using IB for things like registration, settings, scores, help, etc -- but not for the game. itself.





    I think that in the near future, Apple will allow another kind of app on iDevices. An app that is written (or a general-purpose app that is modified) and installed without Apple distribution or curation. This could be written by developers or the end-user himself. A scripting construct such as HyperCard could be a development tool.



    I suspect that this class of apps would mainly target the iPad.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    TomTom?s valuation is $1.7 Billion. I think it?s way too rich for their blood. I also don?t think it would be a great move for Apple since they are already getting 30% of TomTom?s app sales on iDevices without doing anything.



    PS: TomTom for iPhone is pretty great.



    Yes, but only 1% of iPhone customers are getting the benefit of TomTom's app.

    Apple needs to include turn-by-turn directions as part of the OS.

    Apple also needs to have great mapping APIs available to third party apps.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Does anyone have a solid idea why Apple bought those mapping companies? IOW, do they have some really future forward ideas about mapping?



    Apple is increasingly becoming a mobile devices company.

    As devices become increasingly mobile, location awareness and the ability to intelligently use that information will become more important.

    Location affects advertising, entertainment, shopping, travel, weather...everything.



    Apple understands that location based services needs to become a core competency to have a successful mobile platform.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post


    All I hope is that this is a sign that a dedicated GPS chip gets into the next iPod touch. Facebook for iPhone's new check-in features, and other location-based apps and services (including potential advertising?), would be nice to have in non-3G devices.



    Agreed. GPS chips should be standard in iPod Touches, iPads and MacBooks.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Totally disagree. Apple would do better to drop Interface Builder altogether. Interface Builder was a tack on at the last minute to make user interfaces easier to build, but the code underneath NIBs is very inefficient?



    Thanks for this post. It is particularly enlightening.
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