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Apple hiring iOS navigation software experts

Apple LogoFour new job board listings suggest Apple may be looking for engineers to help build navigation software for iOS. Each position is looking for someone to "deliver the next generation of Apple products" and asks for "experience developing navigation software." All four job listings are identical, suggesting Apple may be building a development team dedicated to mapping and navigation.

Currently, iOS relies on Google Maps and Google Map data for its navigation solution. This reliance on a third-party solution has hindered the improvement of navigation on the iPhone and the iPad. Updates for the iOS map program have been slow and the iOS feature set currently trails its Android counterpart. The Android version now features turn-by-turn navigation and will incorporate 3D mapping in its new 5.0 version.
Apple has purchased both Placebase and, more recently, Poly9, two companies with map and navigation-oriented products. So far, Apple has not released any new navigation products and has not indicated how it will use this acquired talent and technology. Rumors suggest Apple is using these acquisitions to develop its own competing navigation solution. Hopefully, these new job listings are a sign the company is moving closer to dropping Google Maps in lieu of its own, and presumably better, navigation solution.

The timing of any switch away from Google may not be as fast as iOS owners hope. In a September interview, Eric Schmidt told Charlie Rose that Apple and Google recently extended their search deal, which may include Google Maps. There is some good news for iOS owners in this situation. While we may have to wait for Apple's solution to debut, we will not have to use Bing Maps in the interim.

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