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Friday, March 25, 2011, 08:10 am PT (11:10 am ET)

Apple looking to 'radically improve' iPhone Maps & location services

New job listings from Apple suggest the company is still hard at work at a new, advanced version of its iOS Maps application along with improvements to location services for the iPhone and iPad.

This week Apple advertised two new hirings on its official site (1, 2) for the position of "iOS Maps Application Developer." The positions discovered by AppleInsider are based in Apple's corporate campus in Cupertino, Calif.

"Come work for the team that revolutionized the mobile technology industry as it continues [to] define what computing looks like in a post-PC era," the listing reads. "The Maps team is looking for an exceptional developer to join us in our mission to radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services."

As is par for the course in Apple's cryptic job listings, it offers no specific details on what an updated version of Maps or new location services might offer. But the company does seek a candidate for the role that has experience in developing "sophisticated user interfaces."

The advertisement also reveals that the position will require an employee to collaborate closely with Apple's human interface team. Together, they will craft "new and innovative features" for iOS devices.

Maps job


For years now, there has been mounting evidence that Apple is cooking up a major revamp of the iPhone's native Maps application, perhaps in concert with new and enhanced location-based features. In 2009, the company purchased Placebase, a competitor to Google Maps, which led to speculation that Apple could be interested in eschewing Google's mapping content for its own.

In addition, last July Apple acquired Poly9, an online mapping company from Quebec. Poly9 created interactive 3D mapping software for use in a browser.

Also last year, it was revealed that Apple had begun using its own location databases for devices powered by iOS, like the iPhone and iPad. In version of iOS prior to 3.2, Apple relied on databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless.

While Apple now provides location-based services from its own databases, the iPhone maker still relies on Google for maps and "Street View" content in the native iOS Maps application.