updated 09:35 am EDT, Fri July 30, 2010
Ditches Google, Skyhook
Apple has actually been using its own location databases for iOS since April, the company's general counsel confirms. Bruce Sewell notes that for v1.1.3 of the OS through to v3.1, the company relied -- and in fact still relies -- on Google and Skyhook Wireless to handle location-based services. When v3.2 was released for the iPad in April, Apple from then on began using its own location technology.
"These databases must be updated continuously to account for, among other things, the ever-changing physical landscape, more innovative uses of mobile technology, and the increasing number of Apple’s customers," a letter from Sewell reads. "Apple has always taken great care to protect the privacy of its customers." The last sentence is likely a reference to widespread privacy concerns, which triggered inquiries from the US and German governments.
Although Apple and Google have developed a more acrimonious relationship in recent years, the main incentive for the switch is thought to be iAd. The service is heavily dependent on location data, used to target marketing at different regions and demographics. The information is also kept for six months to "administer and improve the iAd network," Apple has explained.