Apple is known for being incredibly secretive, yet its job postings often reveal its plans for future products. As revealed by a new posting, Apple seems to be greatly looking into enhancing the capabilities of its location services in iOS.
Today, iOS is known for its deeply-integrated location features, available out of the box to every user and every app: using Wi-Fi triangulation or GPS, on devices that include capable hardware. Most of the apps can determine the location of users at any given time. In addition, iOS comes with a built-in Maps app with great emphasis on location features as well as directions, mostly using Google technology at the back end for the moment, although some rumors are suggesting that Apple might be developing its own.
While the new job posting doesn’t reveal which specific features Apple might be working on for future iOS releases, it does allude to upcoming “exciting new features”:
You will join a dynamic team responsible for qualifying the latest iOS products, working on exciting new features for iOS location services.
The job requires a Computer Science or Electrical Engineering degree, along with knowledge on the inner-workings of UNIX, making it even more obvious that Apple is working on features that will be directly baked into iOS, one of the most widely-used UNIX systems in the world, apart from Mac OS X.
The posting also requests applicants to have familiarity with typical sensors in mobile devices, namely GPS chips, as well as “navigation algorithms”, suggesting that Apple might be looking into developing its own turn-by-turn navigation technology, similar to the one provided in Google Maps. This was evidenced by a slip-up by an iPhone manufacturer who suggested that Apple could introduce this feature “in the next couple of years”.
Several recent Apple patents have shun some light over what the company could be looking to introduce. A recent one showcased a friend-finding application that would allow iOS users to communicate with others nearby, which is an interesting idea, although it’s not expected to see the light of day in the foreseeable future.
No major enhancements to the Maps app, or any of the location features, seem to be present in the upcoming iOS 5, which is expected to become available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users next month. Perhaps iOS 6’s main selling points will be location, location, location?