C3 Technologies becomes the third mapping company Apple has quietly snatched up

As much as Apple doesn’t want to admit it, they have to play nice with their competitors, at least until they can find some way to permanently sever their poisonous relationships. The most obvious example that comes to mind of just such a situation is the dance Apple plays with Samsung. The South Korean handset and tablet vendor makes Android devices that look and feel like iOS products, which infuriates Apple to such a degree that they’ve tried to get Samsung’s products banned in a number of countries, but at the same Samsung also makes a significant number of components that Apple uses to build the iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches that many people love. All summer we’ve been hearing rumors that the next generation of processors that Apple is currently designing, starting with the A6, will no longer be manufactured by Samsung, but instead by TSMC.

That’s just one example. Another, one that’s received plenty of media attention is Apple’s relationship with Google. Steve Jobs was royally pissed when Android was launched because Google was developing it while their former CEO, Eric Schmidt, was on Apple’s board. Yet despite this incredible urge to wipe the search engine giant off the face of the planet, Google Maps ships on everything that runs iOS. Starting in the summer of 2009, Apple’s quietly been purchasing companies that are in the mapping industry. First with Placebase, which can best be thought of as a Google Maps clone. Then with Poly9, which made a Google Earth competitor that could run in a browser. And now there’s word of a third company, C3 Technologies, which uses “declassified missile targeting methods” to make 3D maps, better known as Google Street View. The image and video above are just two examples of what they’re capable of.

Everything’s perfectly lined up for Apple to release their own mapping solution, and the only question that’s worth asking is when will they show it off?

Update: It’s been brought to our attention that Nokia Maps uses C3 Technologies to power their 3D maps, so … does this mean Apple is going to kill Nokia’s contract? Hat tip to @jodyfanning!

[Addition reading at 9to5Mac]

  • Anonymous

    What a pity, Nokia Maps 3D is incredible – puts it ahead of google maps in some ways.. It would be very annoying if apple effectively pulled it.

  • Mark

    The effort to have their own mapping solution is a response to Google not releasing their awesome (though battery sucking) Google Voice Navigation to competitors. However, it seems difficult to imagine that a computer algorithm will be able to replicate the street view on google maps. Unless of course, apple “borrows” that technology and adds it to its own mapping.
    The Poly9 acquisition may be able to do that.
    Apple was really ahead of everything when it first came out but today they are behind android on graphics, mapping, screen size, and a bunch more. Even RIM can still correctly claim they have better security and e-mail and both RIM and Android give people choices and the ability to swap batteries.
    With the iPhone 4S reportedly providing less than eight hours from full charge to a dead phone, Apple needs to do something.

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