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Friday, December 17, 2010, 07:10 am PT (10:10 am ET)

Apple bulking up iOS development team with navigation software experts

Apple this week put out a call for a number of new software engineers for its iOS development team, indicating it wants candidates that have experience developing navigation software.

The four new job listings (1, 2, 3, 4) are all identical, suggesting that Apple is looking to hire at least four new employees for its iOS development team. The description for the full-time job based in Santa Clara Valley, Calif., calls for "outstanding engineers to deliver the next generation of Apple products."

"Seize this ground floor opportunity to help us build the world's best hosted platforms at massive scale," it reads.

Apple seeks job candidates with "valuable knowledge" related to the development of navigation software, as well as "deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory." Candidates are required to have at least 3 years' experience of developing "high quality, robust software systems."

The hires, and the mention of navigation software, could signal that Apple is gearing up to build its own personal navigation tools into the iOS mobile operating system. Apple's chief competitor in the mobile space, Google, introduced its own turn-by-turn software for Android devices over a year ago.

A cloud-based navigation solution could also be a major use for Apple's new massive data center in North Carolina. Another job listing posted this week for an iOS software engineer notes that it looking for an employee to manage and automate "distributed image processing on a server cluster."

iOS


"The position is with an emerging and rapidly growing product team building software used by millions of Apple customers in rapidly growing markets worldwide," the description reads. "The candidate will be part of a team that develops and maintains a complex array of global content."

iOS 4 also includes a video out feature that could allow remote control and display of an iPhone, a feature that has already been taken advantage of by BMW. It's possible that Apple's solution could seamlessly integrate turn-by-turn directions with a vehicle using this method.

Apple has also shown interest in developing its own unique mapping solution for the iPhone, with two key acquisitions related to maps: Placebase and Poly9.

In April of this year, Apple began integrating its own databases for location-based services following the release of the iPad and iOS 3.2. Previously, Apple relied on databases maintained by Skyhook Wireless and Google for location services.

The iOS Maps application still relies on Google for map imagery as well as its "Street View," but the change could signal that Apple plans to rely solely on its own technology in the future. In addition, in 2009, Apple indicated it wanted to hire someone who would help take the iPhone's Maps application "to the next level," with the intention of changing how users use Maps and find things.

"We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way," that job listing read. "We've only just started."