Apple purchases GPS startup, seeks to improve Maps platform

Following rocky beginnings, Apple Maps may improve with Apple's recent purchase of GPS startup company Coherent Navigation.

Eric Risberg/AP/File
Apple Maps app is displayed on an Apple Watch during an event in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

In its latest move to improve its Maps platform, Apple has acquired GPS hardware and software startup Coherent Navigation. Coherent specialized in GPS-based navigation products and services that leveraged data from satellite network Iridium. Along with other recent Apple acquisitions, this pickup suggests an upcoming major revision to Maps, which comes standard on Macs, iOS devices and the Apple Watch.

Coherent products were built for both consumers as well as the U.S. government and military. Company co-founder Paul Lego now bills himself as a member of the Apple Maps Team on his LinkedIn profile, where he stated that Coherent was “a commercial high-precision navigation service.” If Apple Maps could describe itself with similar confidence, it could go a long way in catching up to Google Maps.

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Apple Maps had such a poor and rocky launch, company CEO Tim Cook wrote a public apology for its failings a week after it was released in 2012. Ending a partnership that used Google Maps inside of Apple's own solution, the original version of Apple Maps became a point of frustration because of its inaccuracy. Once Google Maps made it back to iOS as a standalone app, Maps-integrated apps began offering an option for users to use Google's option instead, since Apple Maps was built on so little data in comparison.

Apple’s recent maps-based hires include developers of such apps as Pin Drop, Locationary, WifiSLAM, HopStop, Embark and Broadmap. AppleInsider suggests that all of this new talent points to a relaunch of Maps at WWDC this June. If the new Apple Maps can provide stronger accuracy and its long-expected mass transit directions, it just might be able to direct a few users away from Google Maps. 

Source: The New York Times

Henry T. Casey is a Staff Writer at Tom's Guide. Follow him on Twitter @henrytcasey. Follow us@tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Copyright 2015 Toms Guides, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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