Apple patents iPhone Mobile Navigation / Mapping App
With the introduction of iPhone 3G with a GPS sensor, many fans expected a bonanza of various navigation apps for the new phone.
And, to be sure, there are quite a few of them using location capabilities.
But, due to the limited use of GPS sensor that Apple allows on iPhone, very few serious navigation/mapping apps made it to the new platform. The reason for these limitations?
Some say it’s because of the too week GPS sensor that is not suitable for serious navigation apps, others say that it’s to preserve battery on the already power hungry iPhone 3G.
But the one that looks the most obvious to me is that Apple sees a potentially lucrative market developing in the navigation apps/services and want’s to keep that for themselves.
Apple already has a good Google Maps powered mapping/navigation, which after 2.2 iPhone firmaware update works pretty darn well. And most of the iPhone/touchscreen interface optimization for that app is actually done and owned by Apple, not Google.
And now it seems that Apple has taken this thing one step further and patented most of the features used in it’s mobile navigation app.
While the features described in the patent app do not cover much more then is already available on iPhone after 2.2 upgrade, it shows how much of what many consider to be a Google Maps app on the iPhone, is actually owned by Apple.
And, as more offerings between companies start to compete with each other ( Android, MobileMe Office suite, browsers, etc;), I wonder how long it will be until Apple rolls out it’s own fully functional mapping app.