Apple looking to 'radically improve' iPhone Maps & location services

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
New job listings from Apple suggest the company is still hard at work at a new, advanced version of its iOS Maps application along with improvements to location services for the iPhone and iPad.



This week Apple advertised two new hirings on its official site (1, 2) for the position of "iOS Maps Application Developer." The positions discovered by AppleInsider are based in Apple's corporate campus in Cupertino, Calif.



"Come work for the team that revolutionized the mobile technology industry as it continues [to] define what computing looks like in a post-PC era," the listing reads. "The Maps team is looking for an exceptional developer to join us in our mission to radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services."



As is par for the course in Apple's cryptic job listings, it offers no specific details on what an updated version of Maps or new location services might offer. But the company does seek a candidate for the role that has experience in developing "sophisticated user interfaces."



The advertisement also reveals that the position will require an employee to collaborate closely with Apple's human interface team. Together, they will craft "new and innovative features" for iOS devices.







For years now, there has been mounting evidence that Apple is cooking up a major revamp of the iPhone's native Maps application, perhaps in concert with new and enhanced location-based features. In 2009, the company purchased Placebase, a competitor to Google Maps, which led to speculation that Apple could be interested in eschewing Google's mapping content for its own.



In addition, last July Apple acquired Poly9, an online mapping company from Quebec. Poly9 created interactive 3D mapping software for use in a browser.



Also last year, it was revealed that Apple had begun using its own location databases for devices powered by iOS, like the iPhone and iPad. In version of iOS prior to 3.2, Apple relied on databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless.



While Apple now provides location-based services from its own databases, the iPhone maker still relies on Google for maps and "Street View" content in the native iOS Maps application.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    neilmneilm Posts: 920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As is par for the course in Apple's cryptic job listings, it offers no specific details on what an updated version of Maps or new location services might offer.



    Well duh!



    Talk about a statement of the blindingly obvious.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Hopefully they'll update Google Maps to be vector-based instead of bitmap based and have some offline caching as well. Plus, the other cool features included in Google Maps for Android (3D buildings, map rotation, map tilting, etc...)
  • Reply 3 of 33
    oh boy, I'm getting really curious about iOS 5. this combined with their purchase of Siri should be great. I'm imagining built-in, voice activated location and other services.



    "How do I get home?"

    "book me a table for two at 7pm tonight"

    "what movies are showing?"

    Etc.



    Siri itself was pretty darn close to this already.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Hopefully they'll update Google Maps to be vector-based instead of bitmap based and have some offline caching as well. Plus, the other cool features included in Google Maps for Android (3D buildings, map rotation, map tilting, etc...)



    um, I think you totally missed the point of the article. They're building their own Maps service so they don't rely on Google. Apple also has nothing to do with how/when Google updates the features on the existing iOS maps app.
  • Reply 5 of 33
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Now all they need to do is "radically improve" their damn notification system in iOS 5. Otherwise, I doubt I'll be impressed by whatever else they do.
  • Reply 6 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post


    oh boy, I'm getting really curious about iOS 5. this combined with their purchase of Siri should be great. I'm imagining built-in, voice activated location and other services.



    "How do I get home?"

    "book me a table for two at 7pm tonight"

    "what movies are showing?"

    Etc.



    Siri itself was pretty darn close to this already.



    I would be skeptical of those additions for iOS5. Apple takes years developing ideas. I think we are going to get what we have already seen finalized for iPad 2 just miniaturized for iPhone 5.



    Garageband for iPhone, PhotoBooth for iPhone and a specific Facetime app (maybe). Google Maps will still be there for the foreseeable future.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Personally, I'd love to see Apple leverage the "community" of hundreds of millions of iPhone users to generate 3-D models using video information. iPhone videographers could "fill in" missing data with on location shoots to upload and build out the global map, buildings and structures database for Apple.



    Barring that, they should just buy this company.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by applebjesus View Post


    I would be skeptical of those additions for iOS5. Apple takes years developing ideas. I think we are going to get what we have already seen finalized for iPad 2 just miniaturized for iPhone 5.



    Garageband for iPhone, PhotoBooth for iPhone and a specific Facetime app (maybe). Google Maps will still be there for the foreseeable future.



    As big as the iPad is, the iPhone is still their flagship iOS device. These features would likely be coming with iOS5 this summer, announced along with the new iPhone - that's why the new iPad still has 4.3...
  • Reply 9 of 33
    aiaddictaiaddict Posts: 487member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tazinlwfl View Post


    As big as the iPad is, the iPhone is still their flagship iOS device. These features would likely be coming with iOS5 this summer, announced along with the new iPhone - that's why the new iPad still has 4.3...



    A job posting in late March is not going to turn into released features by late June. Any changes we see will be the result of earlier aquisitions and hiring.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    "As is par for the course in Apple's cryptic job listings, it offers no specific details on what an updated version of Maps or new location services might offer."



    Duh - No company ever gives specifics on new technology in a job posting.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Well it would be nice if i could just access my maps from using google maps on my laptop. Am I just being stupid or can you not view your maps you saved when logged in to google from another machine? This is a pain, i.e. when I have a load of things saved and I can't load the locations into iphone. Even the same with safari, can"t seem to find my saved maps...
  • Reply 12 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tazinlwfl View Post


    As big as the iPad is, the iPhone is still their flagship iOS device. These features would likely be coming with iOS5 this summer, announced along with the new iPhone - that's why the new iPad still has 4.3...



    This is correct. My hope is that Apple will update the iPad2 to 5.0 sooner than they updated iPad1 to 4.0. It would be great if the iPad gets the new iOS the same time as the iPhone.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Apple is hiring someone to work on something. Amazing!
  • Reply 14 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Hopefully they'll update Google Maps to be vector-based instead of bitmap based and have some offline caching as well. Plus, the other cool features included in Google Maps for Android (3D buildings, map rotation, map tilting, etc...)



    Totally agree. This is like the one area where Google blows Apple's doors off. On an Android phone you can click one button and say "navigate to Best Buy." The phone will then:



    1) Pull up Google Maps

    2) Find your location using the GPS

    3) Do a search for the closest Best Buy to you

    4) Give you turn by turn voice navigation to get you there



    I love my iP4, but I REALLY miss that feature. Came included with Android for free. Hopefully Apple will either use Google Maps or come up with a similar product. The maps program that is included seems to be pretty good, although it doesn't have the voice turn by turn. I just downloaded the Mapquest app yesterday though, so i'll give that a shot and see how she works.
  • Reply 15 of 33
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    This is good. Apple needs to stop depending on Google for maps. Over time Apple will be able to create a mapping system for iOS devices that is as good as, or better than Google's.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,774member
    Maybe apple will finally build their own Search Engine as well.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,603member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    This is good. Apple needs to stop depending on Google for maps. Over time Apple will be able to create a mapping system for iOS devices that is as good as, or better than Google's.



    I somewhat disagree. Google has been doing maps for years (even though they license the satellite data). Mapping is not one of Apple's core competencies. But I think Apple can vastly improve on the mapping application, UI and functionality. So I think they should use Google's maps, but produce their own apps that link to the maps.



    There should be a way to click on the map in two places and get directions between the two rather than having to search for at least one of them.



    And mapping should definitely have both voice commands and turn-by-turn voice response, even if it's not as fully featured as GPS systems in cars.



    One of the problems with the Google maps is that their business information is hopelessly out of date. (How do businesses get listed? Do they pay? It seems biased in favor of national chains.) Recently, I needed a bike repair place and Google sent me to two places that were long out of business and to a Manhattan bakery that was long out of business. Just this morning, Google Maps could no longer find my apartment building, even when providing a complete address. In Queens, NY, it frequently points to the wrong location when the address themselves tell you where something should be (119-xx 53rd Drive means 119th street and 53rd drive). And Google Maps also recently sent my daughter far west when her desired destination was east on a relatively simple highway trip. So there's definitely improvement needed.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post


    I somewhat disagree. Google has been doing maps for years (even though they license the satellite data). Mapping is not one of Apple's core competencies.



    It should be one of their core competencies. They bought on of the most competent competitors Google had before their current maps product rolled out.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...se_report.html



    http://blogs.computerworld.com/14835...replace_google



    http://www.macrumors.com/2009/09/30/...ebase-in-july/



    The PlaceBase team is really good. They had a top-tier, profitable layer based mapping service with an excellent URL based API. I wonder if they've been absorbed into the skunkworks, or been so well absorbed as a whole that their talents have been applied elsewhere within Apple. The latter would be a shame as it means they are having trouble fitting the mapping services team they did hire into the larger consumer services picture.



    Either way, be rest assured they are well equipped. I don't think Apple is immune to the occasional Microsoft Moment (tm) where they acquire a brilliant product and fail to capitalize on it. Lord know they're doing very well in other areas now. Too bad they didn't buy the SeaMonkey team as well.



    Those two products together would have rocked our worlds.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post


    Maybe apple will finally build their own Search Engine as well.



    If Apple is hard at work on artificial intelligence in the same way Google is, it should be no problem for them. And if you put a lot of credence behind Ray Kurzweil's projections, by the year 2046 true artificial intelligence, aka "strong AI", will come into being. He describes this event as The Singularity.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JasonBee View Post


    Too bad they didn't buy the SeaMonkey team as well.



    Those two products together would have rocked our worlds.



    SeaMonkey?

    I'll pass on that, even though the team itself may be very nice.
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