Apple Acquires Indoor Mobile Location Positioning Firm WifiSLAM for $20 Million

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has acquired indoor location company WifiSLAM, paying around $20 million for the firm. Apple has confirmed the purchase, but declined to offer any details on its plans for the acquisition.
    Apple has been beefing up its location expertise over the past several years through acquisitions, including small firms such as Placebase, Poly9, and C3 Technologies. With its purchase of WifiSLAM, Apple seems to be adding a new focus on indoor location tracking.

    The cornerstone of Apple's mapping effort so far has been its Maps app in iOS 6, which replaced Google as the default mapping application on iOS devices. Apple's Maps app has, however, suffered from significant criticism and the company has been working hard to improve its mapping products.

    Article Link: Apple Acquires Indoor Mobile Location Positioning Firm WifiSLAM for $20 Million
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Would be an excellent addition to Maps and location services in general if your iDevice can figure out its exact location in Airport, shopping centers, large office buildings, parking garages, where GPS is not available.
  3. iapplelove macrumors 68030


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
  4. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    Wasn't Google doing the same kinda thing some time ago where they took streetview inside restaurants, museums etc?
  5. jrath1 macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2005
  6. ThE.MeSsEnGeR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2009
    Caracas, Venezuela
    let's just hope that when I ask to go to the main office I won't be taken to the nearest toilet.
  7. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    Google has a lot of universities, malls, etc. mapped out already.

    If Apple can add this to Maps, it would be a nice addition. Who knows how long it would take though.
  8. ck2875 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    A benefit this could provide to Apple's location services (in their current state) is to more accurately determine when to pull up Passbook info badges on the lock screen.
  9. Squilly macrumors 68020


    Nov 17, 2012
    Sounds like Google's plan with their Glass project (navigating buildings indoors).
  10. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    It's about time Apple start using it's cash for something worthwhile. There are all sorts of companies like this Apple could be buying for the technology and expertise.

    Google's almost entire business is made up of purchases of other companies and they rarely do anything innovative themselves. Other than search, it's mostly been about buying up other people's companies and claiming it for themselves.. Youtube, Android, Applied Semantics (Adsense and Adwords), Picasa, DoubleClick, GrandCentral, Motorola, Admob, Picnik, SageTV, Sparrow, etc.

    The list goes on and on...

    In fact, Google has been acquiring on average more than one company a week since 2010!

    Apple themselves are far more innovative than a company like Google who just buys up other companies but they need to understand they can't do everything alone. There are hundreds of little small companies that come up with interesting new ideas and takes on things. Getting access to the brilliant people in them is probably more important than anything else.
  11. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I would bet this will be coupled with passbook. And also, perhaps, their mapping app.
  12. simon48 macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010

    Apple has bought a lot of companies themselves too:

    But nowhere near as many as Google.
  13. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    With crowdsourcing, they could pretty quickly get maps for a lot of buildings that are easy to get lost in... Large hotels, office buildings, schools, airports, malls...

    Since it uses wifi signals, I wonder if it would also work on cruise lines?
  14. burtba macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    ?? Dude, Apple have been doing this for years, where have you been. We have been using MANY technologies in our iDevices that were acquisitions by Apple. Stacks.

    Unfortunately Apple are very slow at implementing their acquisitions. Possibly some are just to remove that technology from the market place?
  15. MasterHowl macrumors 65816


    Oct 3, 2010
    North of England
    They could speed this up massively by allowing users to help give them info.

    Eg: I could map out 5 buildings per day on my university campus (largest one in the UK, University of Manchester) but it would take forever for Apple to do it themselves.

    If multiple users map out the same building, Apple could just cross check the "results" to see if they match up or something.
  16. AllieNeko macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    Absolutely, Apple acquires a lot of companies for the sole purpose of burying their inventions.
  17. szw-mapple fan macrumors 65816

    szw-mapple fan

    Jul 28, 2012
    Could we see it integrated in iOS7 or is that too much to hope?:rolleyes:
  18. jaymzuk macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2012
    Yeah, but it doesn't count because Apple take something and make it better, whereas Google copy something and just use it to collect your data. Apple won't collect your data at all, because that's not their business*

    *Unless you count iAds, in which case it kinda is their business.
  19. dec. Suspended


    Apr 15, 2012
    That could well be. What is your point, if you have one?
  20. newagemac, Mar 23, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013

    newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    The number of companies Apple has bought doesn't come anywhere close to the number of companies Google has bought up. Why don't you compare the two?

    And Apple has been in business since the 1970's while Google didn't start until 1998 and didn't become a public company until 2004. :eek: Just face it, Google is an ad company who is pretty clueless when it comes to innovation. They're pretty good at buying up other innovative companies though.

    You don't work for Google I suppose so that's nothing for you to be ashamed about. And there's nothing wrong with being an ad/marketing/PR company like Google is. Somebody has to do it and they are very good at it.
  21. petsounds macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Fantastic news. I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to buy them. The beauty of this vs. Google's indoor maps is that Apple will be able to integrate this tech into iOS and send indoor map data to its servers, quickly amassing maps for most popular buildings around the world.
  22. mrtravel123 macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    Home automation is getting that much closer in my opinion. This type of acquisition could help with that immensely.

    Consider your "i" devices (watch, phone) having the ability to control parts of your home.... and your home knowing where you are at.

    Sounds like it could lead to something like what Bill Gates apparently has in his house: home automation where your home knows your preferences, where you are, what doors need to be unlocked, lights, heat, etc.

    My guess is that Apple is looking at the very big picture when it comes to "i" devices being integrated into our entire lives, including just about everything electronic and electric in our houses.
  23. osaga macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    You approach the front door, it opens. Walk inside, living room lights come on, heat comes on. Stand in front of the tv, your email, macrumors, facebook, and favorite tv content appear. Stand in front of the toilet, seat pops up.
  24. SgtPepper12 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2011
    I think your concept of "innovation" is flawed.
  25. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    american museum of natural history is doing this

    for the last few years the iOS app will work with the museum wifi to tell you where you are in the building and provide directions to other exhibits

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