According to the updated legal disclaimer in iOS 5, Apple is working on developing its own mapping solution to improve the pre-installed Maps application on iOS devices. This news surfaces even after Eric Schmidt had stated that Google has recently renewed its partnership with Apple to provide maps data for Maps app in iOS 5 as well.
The legal section mentions the names of many location and mapping related companies including the very familiar TomTom, Waze as well as a few others like Getchee, Increment P Corp. Now what is interesting in the list of these companies is that some of them specialise in providing data for countries other than the United States. For example Getchee provides location data for Asian countries like India and China. Similarly MapData Sciences Pty Ltd. Inc provides mapping data for Australia and New Zealand. Another interesting tidbit is that the list includes Waze, which provides real-time traffic information based on crowd sourced data, something very similar to what Apple will be providing in the future.
A section of the legal text reads:
This material is proprietary and the subject of copyright protection, database right protection and other intellectual property rights owned by TomTom or its suppliers. The use of this material is subject to the terms of a license agreement. Any unauthorized copying or disclosure of this material will lead to criminal and civil liabilities.
We couldn’t help but notice the irony of this statement. TomTom in the past had faced a huge backlash from its users for providing their GPS data to Dutch cops to catch speeders.
Of course the Maps app revamp isn’t entirely unexpected considering Apple’s acquisition of two mapping companies, Poly9 and Placebase in the past two years. This in addition to the many job postings on Apple’s site seeking applicants with experience in navigation software indicates that Apple has been working on this since quite sometime. Unfortunately, it looks like it will take some more time as we are quite disappointed that Apple’s Maps application didn’t make it to iOS 5.
Let us know what you think about the possibility of Apple’s own Mapping solution in the comments.