Apple rumored to take on Google's 3D maps with superior technology

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Evidence continues to point to Apple actively developing a 3D mapping surface through a combination of acquisitions and in-house development, with recent rumors suggesting that the iPhone maker has acquired a Swedish 3D mapping company.



A bevy of reports noted on Saturday (via PC Mag) that Apple may have purchased its third mapping company in roughly two years.



In August, MacRumors noted that, according to local reports, a "company in the Western world" had purchased Sweden-based 3D mapping company C3 Technologies. At the time, Apple was among those speculated to be the purchaser, with Microsoft and Google also named as possible buyers.



It has now been suggested that Apple was indeed the company that snatched up C3. The mapping company uses once classified military targeting technology to create 3D maps. Technology Review reported in April of this year that C3's 3D mapping method entailed using planes equipped with angled digital SLR cameras to take aerial photos that capture the sides of buildings as well as the tops. Those images were then supplemented with photos from additional camera angles to create a full 3D rendering of a city.



"Unlike Google or Bing, all of our maps are 360° explorable," C3 Chief Strategy Officer Paul Smith said earlier this year. "Everything, every building, every tree, every landmark, from the city center to the suburbs, is captured in 3D?not just a few select buildings."



Swedish defense company Saab AB reportedly sold its 57.8 percent stake in C3 for as much as $150 million. As such, some have said that a full purchase of the company may have cost Apple upwards of $250 million.







Apple has shown a keen interest in mapping companies in recent years. In 2010, the iPhone maker acquired Web-based map company Poly 9. Prior to the acquisition, Poly 9 offered a "cross-browser, cross-platform 3D globe" product that did not require any downloads.



In 2009, the Cupertino, Calif., company purchased Placebase, a Google Maps competitor, sparking speculation that it was looking to decrease its dependance on Google technology for the Maps application on the iPhone. In 2010, it was revealed that Apple had begun using its own databases for location-based services, although it continues to rely on Google for maps and the Street View feature.



Apple's bet with its Siri voice assistant technology, also an acquisition from 2010, could help further reduce the reliance. Though the service is able to query Google's search engine, it also relies heavily on non-Google services such as Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and Yelp. Interestingly enough, Apple's FAQ on Siri notes that currently Maps and local search support are only available in the U.S., with support coming to additional countries in 2012.



Patents and job openings at Apple continue to point to coming advances in mapping technology from the company. Earlier this year, AppleInsider discovered two job listings for the position of "iOS Maps Application Developer." According to the posting, Apple is looking to "radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services." The developers Apple was seeking were to have experience developing "sophisticated user interfaces" and would be required to work closely with the company's human interface team to craft "new and innovative features for iOS devices."



In 2010, a set of Apple patent applications showed that the company was looking into using future iPhones to generate 3D models of an object or place. More recently, Apple filed an application entitled "Augmented Reality Maps" for an invention that would overlay data such as directions or street names in real time on top of live video. Apple has also filed for a "Schematic Maps" patent where a mapping application would dynamically emphasize or exaggerate details such as roads or landmarks.
«1345678

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 157
    "a company in the western world" doesn't exactly narrow it down, does it?
  • Reply 2 of 157
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Star Fleet has decided to incorporate Apple into its technological fold. We will have a party at the Mother Ship. We will keep you posted. Star Fleet out.
  • Reply 3 of 157
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    Incredible technology. I hope Apple did buy it and is now busy imaging every city on Earth.
  • Reply 4 of 157
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    I'm one who doesn't care. Not that it won't be cool or really attractive, but I don't use steet view as it is now... Just the regular map appearance is good for me. I'm sure others will like it. It just seems like a program like that wouldn't be good for the mobile world (seems like it would take forever to load)- maybe those at a desktop/laptop. But $250 million... Yikes.
  • Reply 5 of 157
    I thought C3 uses technologies from these guys http://www.myvr-software.com/.



    EDIT: It's true, but C3 owns the 3D model.
  • Reply 6 of 157
    nhtnht Posts: 4,487member
    The problem is Google still has the most extensive streetview data because they've been collecting it for years.



    Like someone above, I don't use streetview all that much but it's a nice to have for many folks.
  • Reply 7 of 157
    hankx32hankx32 Posts: 121member
    Who really cares about a sucker on a take off, bust a move or we could have a shake and bake off...
  • Reply 8 of 157
    Apple will probably replace everything Google does?including search?as soon as they can do it effectively. I think when Steve Jobs said that he was pissed because Google went after the phone business but they didn't go after the phone business it was a clear message that Apple would be going after Google's core businesses. Maps will probably come first and then full search after Siri leaves beta. They may even use the Siri name as their search brand. One can't be sure what Apple's going to do but with Jobs as mad as he was at Google you can bet they're going to do something.
  • Reply 9 of 157
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,271member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hankx32 View Post


    Who really cares about a sucker on a take off, bust a move or we could have a shake and bake off...







    "Joisey" to Compton connection.





    I'm excited about better mapping coming to iOS. For a minute there I thought maybe the desire to revamp the mapping went cold after the Placebase and Poly9 acquisitions but now I see that the effort is still underway.



    It'll be interesting to see how Apple folks technology from three disparate companies into a nice cohesive product.



    Bonus points for turn-by-turn GPS directions with graphics beyond reproach.
  • Reply 10 of 157
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,606member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by poke View Post


    Incredible technology. I hope Apple did buy it and is now busy imaging every city on Earth.



    I hope that you are correct!



    Best.
  • Reply 11 of 157
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?
  • Reply 12 of 157
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?



    Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.
  • Reply 13 of 157
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,606member
    I will be interesting to see how smoothly the remotely sensed (aircraft) images transition to local (vehicle) images when zooming in on a subject, assuming Apple goes for a continuous zoom rather than a specific transition to a street view.
  • Reply 14 of 157
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by The Mock Turtleneck View Post


    Oh how so insightful. What did they steal exactly? Do elaborate if I may say so. Oh and remember to back up your claims too. The burden of proof is on you.



    You will just get some stupid post saying he stole android and the ridicules picture of one prototype then the G1. They Fail to notice the change in market demand led to the change in the finish product. Instead they will believe Eric Schmidt sat on the board stilling ideas. Despite Apple knew for at least two years before the release of the iPhone that Google was planing a mobile operating system. They believe that it Eric would not have been asked to leave due to conflicting issues. Nope they believe he sat on the board taking notes and taking pictures of the upcoming iPhone. Many of them fail to notice that the OSs function differently and operate differently. But they choose to say that coding aside, functionality aside that the only thing that matters is the look and feel which by the way some people on this website believe that icon based is owned solely by Apple.



    Watch this post get murdered.
  • Reply 15 of 157
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quite impressive tech. I think it would be good in games not just maps. Maybe Apple has something bigger in mind.
  • Reply 16 of 157
    You can see the tech in action at:



    http://maps.nokia.com/3D/
  • Reply 17 of 157
    Saab AB has not been the parent company of Saab Automobile for more than two decades. The car subsidiary was sold to GM in 1990, GM sold it to Dutch sports car maker Spyker in 2010, and Swedish Automobile (the renamed holding company) just agreed in principle to sell it to Chinese auto makers Youngman and Pang Da.
  • Reply 18 of 157
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    They Fail to notice the change in market demand led to the change in the finish product.



    There was just... *waves hands*... a "change in market demand." LoL. C'mon, say it plainly. The iPhone came out and changed what people wanted.



    Btw I don't believe Schmidt stole the iPhone. One of the coolest things at the iPhone introduction was the pinching/zooming and multitouch gestures, and Android didn't get that until version 2.0 in October 2009.



    Surely if Schmidt had been privy to iPhone prototypes that would have been the first thing he copied? But that doesn't mean they have not copied it since. I wonder if they will have an "AI assistant" in the next Android? Not just speech input, but an actual AI assistant type thing.
  • Reply 19 of 157
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Now that Google fuckhead Eric Schmidt is gone, where else will they steal their ideas from?



    Wait. What?



    -What does this have to do with Eric Schmidt?

    -What does this have to do with "stealing ideas"?

    -You DO realize that Apple is the one using Google's map technology right now.







    Anyway, really cool rendering technology. It was only smooth on the computer though. Things to keep in mind:



    -these images are public, and google/ms can use them if they wanted to

    -only available in a limited number of cities

    -the thing that apple needs to work on with maps is integrated voice navigation, not a google-earth-like product, although I'd expect that that's what C3 is working on right now.
  • Reply 20 of 157
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macfb6 View Post


    You can see the tech in action at:



    http://maps.nokia.com/3D/



    Yes, that's pretty cool!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    I'm one who doesn't care. Not that it won't be cool or really attractive, but I don't use steet view as it is now... Just the regular map appearance is good for me. I'm sure others will like it. It just seems like a program like that wouldn't be good for the mobile world (seems like it would take forever to load)- maybe those at a desktop/laptop. But $250 million... Yikes.



    I agree because I'm capable of reading a map. But some people frankly have difficulties to do so, and a GPS with this kind of quality would be awesome.
Sign In or Register to comment.