updated 11:25 am EST, Fri December 17, 2010
Company building own navigation tool?
Apple has opened up four new software engineering positions in its iOS team, all of which ask for experience in developing navigation software. The jobs are based in the Santa Clara Valley area, and beyond experience with navigation code call for "deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory" along with "experience with Linux server-side development of distributed systems."
Although Apple is as usual evasive about the projects new hires will be working on, it's believed that the company may be developing a proprietary navigation app. Although the iPhone has Google Maps, it is still missing Maps Navigation, free turn-by-turn software available on some Android devices. Google long ago promised to bring Navigation to the iPhone, but has been fairly quiet on the matter since. Alternately, Apple could intend to distance itself from Maps entirely.
Supporting this is last year's buyout of mapping firm Placebase, and the more recent acquisition of Poly9, a Canadian company specializing in a Google Earth-like web app. Apple could tie a custom-built navigation app to its North Carolina data center, which is on the verge of beginning operations. An earlier iOS engineer listing asks for someone to manage "distributed image processing on a server cluster."