It looks like Apple recently decided to beef up its GPS capabilities a bit, as the company has acquired indoor GPS company WiFiSLAM. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the purchase to The Wall Street Journal, saying that the Cupertino firm "buys smaller technology companies from time to time," but declining to elaborate on Apple's plans any further. A source speaking to the WSJ claims that Apple ponied up around $20 million for WiFiSLAM.
WiFiSLAM, which was founded two years ago, aimed to take advantage of ambient Wi-Fi signals to allow a smartphone to find its location inside of buildings. The company's focus has been on using its tech to help build mobile applications that could aid users with indoor navigation and allow them to participate in proximity-based social networking.
While it's not yet known exactly what Apple plans to do with WiFiSLAM and its indoor navigation technology, one possibility is that Apple could build some sort of indoor mapping support into its own iOS Maps app. Google has been offering indoor navigation with its Maps app on Android for some time now, so it wouldn't be a shock to see Apple add some similar functionality to its own mapping application. Apple's Maps app has received quite a bit of criticism since its debut with iOS 6 last year, but Apple has promised that it's continually working to improve Maps, adding more accurate location info and making other tweaks to its app. The addition of indoor navigation would be another way for Apple to beef up its Maps app, but for now we'll just have to wait and see what, if anything, the company ultimately does with WiFiSLAM and its tech. Have you ever used indoor navigation with an app like Google Maps?