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Apple acquires mapping company: iOS 3D maps incoming?

Apple has reportedly acquired a 3D mapping company, hinting it could be moving from Google Maps to its own version of the tech.

Apple has acquired a 3D mapping company called C3 Technologies, according to anonymous sources speaking to 9to5Mac. This means we could soon be seeing 3D mapping coming to iOS, as Apple moves away from Google Maps for its location services.

C3 was taken over by a mystery buyer in August. 9to5Mac claims sources say C3's top brass are now working within Apple's iOS division. C3 makes amazingly detailed 3D maps, taking its info from "declassified missile-targeting methods". Seriously. It's all photo realistic, with even small details like trees, cars and people fully visible. It makes Google Maps look like toy town.

Here's a video demo.

Mind blown? Here's one of an early version running on an iPad.

And while we're at it, here's one of how the maps are put together.

Apple has a history of buying up companies and integrating their breakthroughs into iOS. Just look at Siri -- Apple bought the company behind it, added some attitude, and built it right into the iPhone 4S. And seeing as Jobs wanted to wage thermonuclear war on Google's Android OS, it makes sense that Apple will move away from Google Maps if it can.

Apple bought Placebase, a geomapping start-up, a couple of years ago, which was read as an attempt to split from Google Maps. Adding 3D capabilities from military hardware would certainly be an effective way of making that happen. For sheer wow factor, C3 in an iPhone is sure to impress the average man on the street. Add some Google Maps-style location services and navigation, and you've got a pretty enticing prospect.

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