Apple’s announcement of their purchase of US mapping start up, Placebase, sparked plenty of speculation, mainly wondering whether Apple are introducing an off-board mapping alternative to Google Maps.
To us, this is really a further demonstration of how Geo or ‘location-based’ services are becoming an ever-more important part of any mobile proposition. Many of the largest mobile hardware and software players have already made substantial investments in this area, for example Microsoft’s purchase of Multimap and Nokia’s purchase of NAVTEQ. It will be interesting to see how these are converted into useful customer experiences over time, and how issues of data roaming and availability of such services in poor network coverage areas are managed.
Of course, if you need to depend on mapping and directions, irrespective of network coverage, you are more likely better off with a fully on-board navigation experience like CoPilot.