Apple has acquired Android based company WifiSlam for $20 million for its indoor mapping technology. WifiSlam is a Silicon Valley startup that is two years old. The App helps in locating the device in a building by determining the WiFi signals received by the device.
The company developed their SDK for android that allowed developers to locate users with WiFi signals on their app.There was also works in progress for similar SDK for iOS.But it has been dropped since Apple disabled WiFi scanning in iOS 5.It could have continued in jailbreaked iOS but it did not have a hopeful amount of audience according to the developer Nav Patel.
Google already has indoor maping on its service for popular malls, monuments, airports etc.With this purchase Apple could deliver a similar one that uses WiFi.Also Apple may use this technology for all positioning in public places with the crowd sourced WiFi database.
you may ask why WiFi when there is GPS. The answer is using GPS stellites takes more time to obtain the co-ordinates.But using the crowd-sourced database of known WiFi hotspots, the positioning of device can be done very quick and the user need not wait for long.
Lets see what Apple has got for its users with its acquisition of WiFiSlam.