According to WSJ, Apple has purchased WiFislam for $20 million. After this report, Apple confirmed the deal, but didn’t share any specific information what was the purpose for buying it. Some of the analyst says Apple purchased this company for improving the mapping service, and it was about time.
This company WiFislam is two years old and they’ve been able to start and develop new technology which detects smartphone user’s location into a building using the Wi-Fi signals. Before Apple made this acquisition, the company was offering this technology to all the app developers for making indoor mapping and other retail and social networking applications.
This product is best described by the company on their WiFiSlam page on AngelList:
“Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient Wi-Fi signals that are already present in buildings.”
Google, playing the role of Apple’s biggest competitor, already has this type of indoor mapping. They offer it in malls, stadiums, airports and some other locations. It’s unclear if the technology of this newly bought company will be included into Apple Maps application, but we will know soon enough.
You may already know all about the negative criticism on Apple’s maps when they excluded Google as a service provider last year. After that they were really quiet about all the updates and improvements which were released to make the maps better. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was asked recently about this and he said that they made several improvements to the maps including new improved satellite and flyover imagery. Maybe WiFislam will bring some new changes and improvements and finally Apple Maps will slip out of the Google Maps shadow that is covering them for ages.
Back in December, Google launched their maps application for iOS and was updated earlier this month. An interesting fact is that Joseph Huang is the co-founder of WiFiSlam. He is a former Google’s intern for software engineering.
This new purchase isn’t surprising at all. They clearly lack this kind of technology to make maps better. After they ditched Google, the app was so bad that it made Tim Cook give a special public apology for it. The latest update iOS 6.1.3 included some updates for the maps in Japan, but let’s hope this new technology will make the maps even better for all around the world.