The iPhone homescreen is a prime piece of electronic real estate and you can bet good money that Apple isn’t thrilled to have two Google properties sitting there – YouTube and Maps. As for the former, there’s not much Apple can do there. YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world and isn’t going anywhere. The Maps app, however, is another story entirely.
This past June, Google Chariman Eric Schmidt said that Apple renewed its contract with Google to supply the backend for its Maps application in iOS 5. Further, Schmidt expressed a desire to keep Apple on as a valued partner in Maps for some time to come.
But now that Google’s Android has become a legitimate threat to Apple’s iPhone empire, it’s no secret that Apple would like to limit its reliance on Google products as greatly as possible. As such, Apple over the past few years has been working vigorously to develop its own Maps application that will one day, we assume, supplant Google’s own Maps technology.
Over the weekend, 9to5Mac confirmed that Apple in 2009 bought a company called C3 Technologies whose bread and butter consists of really eye-catching 3D mapping software. This is in addition to a mapping company called Placebase that Apple also acquired in 2009. Moreover, Apple also licenses a number of mapping technologies into its Maps app, including but not limited to technology which offers real-time traffic information and local business locations.
And C3 Technologies? Well what they do is beyond cool.
Think about the satellite images you might see on Google Maps. Now imagine those maps taken to the next level. That’s where C3 Technologies comes in. They offer unbelievably high quality and detailed 3D maps using technology derived from old school missile targeting technologies.
C3 Technologies is the leading provider of 3D mapping solutions, offering photo-realistic models of the world for search, navigation and geographic information systems. Since 2007 when it was spun out of the aerospace and defense company Saab AB, venture-backed C3 has redefined mapping by applying previously classified image processing technology to the development of 3D maps as a platform for new social and commercial applications. The Sweden-based company’s automated software and advanced algorithms enable C3 to rapidly assemble extremely precise 3D models, and seamlessly integrate them with traditional 2D maps, satellite images, street level photography and user generated images, that together are forever changing how people use maps and explore the world.
But let’s check out some video to see exactly how amazing this all is. Below is video footage of Oslo, Norway created by C3 Technologies.
Now imagine that type of functionality on a handheld device.
Apple is clearly cooking up something big with Maps and we’d wager that iOS 6 will bring with it some incredible new mapping technologies to further distinguish Apple’s iOS from Android.