Former (?) iOS Maps engineer Chris Blumenberg. Photo: Chris Blumenberg
Uber has just poached one of Apple’s senior engineering manager, who worked on both the company’s Maps app and its iPhone software, says subscription website The Information.
The senior iOS engineer in question, Chris Blumenberg, was among the first engineers to work on the iPhone’s software — joining Apple in 2000 initially to help Microsoft port Internet Explorer and Office over to Mac OS X.
The Information editor Jessica Lessin claims that three sources familiar with Blumenberg’s jump to Uber confirmed the situation with her.
While iOS 8 has seen tons of improvements — from FaceTime call waiting to the ability to purchase iTunes content using Siri — there’s one area that hasn’t seen a major overhaul: Apple Maps.
Although the new version of Maps does now offer vector maps and other improvements in China, as well as a feature designed to give owners the ability to add more indoor positioning data, this was reportedly nowhere near what Apple originally had planned for the next version of its mobile OS.
Over the past year we’ve reported on various map-related patents which seemed like they would land on iOS before long, related to innovations such as user customizable maps. There’s also been plenty of talk regarding major under-the-hood changes to improve map accuracy; adding more points of interest; overhauling labels to make locations like airports, highways and parks easier to find; changing the overall map interface to make it cleaner; and adding public transit directions.
So why didn’t anything like this happen? According to sources the problems may have been the result of internal politics and generally chaotic project management.
Apple could be looking to make the Maps app more of a social experience. TechCrunch reports that Apple has bought Spotsetter, a service that let users search for places based on recommendations from friends.
Spotsetter worked kind of like Foursquare, expect that it pulled from a host of other social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. The startup allegedly had big plans for wearables as well, which could bode well for an imminent iWatch.
As the old song goes, “Google Maps and QuizUp, sitting in a tree, now both visible from low-Earth orbit.” It’s not catchy, but it is true – now the super-addictive trivia game has a Google Maps channel.
When Facebook snapped up virtual-reality company Oculus VR this week, it got us wondering what other interesting startups Apple might want to buy before Mark Zuckerberg can get his hands on them.
While Oculus is most well known for its Rift gaming headset, Zuckerberg sees a far more wide-ranging application for the company’s VR tech, envisioning it as a futuristic communications platform. “One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” he said in his post about the acquisition.
That’s the kind of big thinking Steve Jobs brought to the table when he talked about the way the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad would change the way people interact with technology. While Apple rarely dips into its $150 billion cash hoard to buy other hardware firms, here are seven awesome companies whose technology could help Cupertino enhance and improve its existing devices — as well as build entirely new ones.
InRoute really does look like my new favorite journey planner. It’s a Universal map app with a whole slew of useful extras, including charts for elevation, curviness (!), wind speed, precipitation and more. It looks especially good for folks who understand that a journey and its route aren’t just about the miles.
Just because you’ve built a great app doesn’t mean that they will come. It hasn’t been that way for years. Have you ever wondered what it takes to get into the top charts of the app store? What are the top apps doing that you aren’t? Is it luck?