File under: Rampant Speculation. Apple Maps is pretty bad compared to Google Maps, and they need to get it fixed in a hurry, by either chaining their engineers to their desks, or buying another company with enough talent to fix Scott Forstall’s biggest snafu.
There was a ridiculous rumor last month that Apple might acquire TomTom to fix Maps, and now the web has sprouted another crazy rumor that Apple might acquire a different mapping company to fix Maps: Waze.
According to TechCrunch, Apple is looking to acquire the social navigation app Waze to help alleviate the problems of Apple’s new Maps app. Waze is already one of Apple’s partners for the Maps app and provides mapping data for Israel. After the Apple Maps fiasco, Waze was the only navigation app that gained meaningful marketshare.
Both Apple and Waze have declined to comment on the acquisition rumor, but it’s been speculated that Apple would want Waze for their international data. Apple gets a lot of their data from TomTom, but Waze’s international use has been growing rapidly.
The problem with this rumor is that Apple doesn’t need to buy Waze to get better data. Lots of companies have plenty of mapping data that Apple can license. However, one thing Waze is really great at is using real-time user data to find the fastest routes available. Waze tracks how fast users are driving and then can gives other users route recommendations based on traffic speed, accidents, and construction. Waze users can also report police traps and road obstacles as well as chat up other drivers.
Imagine tens of millions of iPhones across the country reporting back real-time traffic data to Apple’s Maps app and you can see why Apple might be interested in buying Waze. If they’re not doing it for the data, hopefully they do it to make Apple Maps a lot more useful, but then again, this is all just speculation, so don’t hold your breath.