Apple has acquired GPS company WiFiSLAM according to a Wall Street Journal report, which claims Apple paid approximately US$20 million to close the deal.
WiFiSLAM, an indoor-locating service that uses Wi-Fi signals to pinpoint an individual or device, is located in the iconic Silicon Valley and could be used by Apple to improve its much-maligned Maps application.
“The two-year-old startup has developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals,” WSJ said.
“It has been offering the technology to application developers for indoor mapping and new types of retail and social networking apps. The company has a handful of employees, and its co-founders include former Google software engineering intern Joseph Huang.”
The WSJ report received confirmation of the deal from an Apple spokesman, however further details weren’t forthcoming.
Apple’s mapping solution, which brought native navigation to iOS devices when it launched alongside iOS 6 last year, received heated criticism from both the media and public for incorrect data and navigation routes.
In December the Victorian Police cautioned motorists heading to Mildura on the Victorian and New South Wales border to avoid using the Apple app, as the app placed the town 70km from its correct location and lead travellers to the potentially dangerous Murray Sunset National Park.