The search engine in Apple’s iOS Maps definitely leaves much to be desired but 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman reports that the company has made a key move that will make searches on the application much more reliable going forward. One of Gurman’s sources says that Apple has recently hired Benoit Dupin, the former vice president of Amazon A9′s Search Technology group, to work for “Apple’s search technology team for Maps, the iTunes Store, and the App Store,” which makes sense given his extensive background working in search for Amazon. More →
Apple is not giving up on its quest to make iOS Maps more useable. 9to5Mac reports that Apple has bought up two more companies that could help improve iOS Maps: Mapping firm BroadMap, whose technology has been used by applications such as Nokia HERE and MapQuest; and Catch, a popular note-taking app that competes with Evernote. More →
Apple’s iOS Maps service was so bad when it launched in 2012 that CEO Tim Cook actually issued a formal apology for it. Just over a year later, however, it looks as though Apple’s iOS Maps PR debacle may have been worthwhile for the company after all. The Guardian points out that new data from comScore show that use of Google Maps has fallen significantly over the past year while use of Apple’s Maps program has sharply risen. More →
While the iPhone 5s’s 64-bit A7 processor has received the lion’s share of attention, 9to5Mac points out that we should take a look at the device’s M7 dedicated motion co-processor as well. As Apple describes it, the M7 is technology that “knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving” and can do things like automatically switch the type of directions it gives you when you stop driving and start walking. More →
The most interesting tidbit from Reuters’ new profile of Apple CEO Tim Cook is about his response to the infamous iOS Maps fiasco and how it paved the way for a major review of Apple’s mobile operating system. According to Reuters‘ sources, Cook bypassed the advice of former iOS boss Scott Forstall when he issued a formal apology for the app and then decided that iOS as a whole needed to go in a new direction. Forstall was ousted from his post shortly afterwards and was replaced by Jony Ive, Apple’s longtime hardware design guru who would spend the next several months working to put his own unique stamp on Apple’s mobile platform. More →
iOS Maps was obviously not one of Apple’s better efforts but that doesn’t mean the executive who oversaw its implementation has nothing to contribute to the tech world. Bloomberg reports that Facebook has hired Richard Williamson, the former Apple executive who headed the development of the ill-fated iOS Maps, to work as part of its mobile software team. Although iOS Maps was certainly a disaster for Apple, it doesn’t tell the full story of Williamson’s career — as Bloomberg notes, he worked at Apple for more than 10 years and was “one of the engineers assigned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to build software for the iPhone.” So unless Facebook hired Williamson to oversee the creation of its own mapping application, it seems safe to say the company has found itself an experienced executive who can help improve its mobile offerings.
Apple (AAPL) is still plugging away in its efforts to improve its widely panned iOS Maps application and on Monday it paid an estimated $20 million to acquire indoor mapping company WifiSLAM. The Wall Street Journal reports that WifiSLAM “has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals” and “has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps.” An Apple spokesperson wouldn’t tell the Journal why Apple had acquired the company and only said that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.”
It seems that Apple (AAPL) isn’t done yet bringing on new people to help fix iOS Maps. AppleInsider reports that Apple has posted “seven map-related job listings” on its corporate website over just the past two days alone. The blog says that one particularly interesting posting is for “a computer-vision expert, who will take on improving Flyover, Apple’s 3D terrain visualization feature.” Earlier this month Apple said that it was seeking 10 software engineers to help fix iOS Maps by handling “various programming duties” as well as “navigation.”