Apple to take iPhone maps to "next level"

Firm seeks software engineer for maps app, suggesting move away from Google
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Apple is advertising for an iPhone software engineer to focus on maps, provoking further speculation about its fractured relationship with Google.

The advert tells potential applicants: “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We've only just started.”

Currently, Google provides the Maps application for iPhone and iPod touch. However, Apple and Google's relationship may have been strained in recent months, with the former rejecting some of the latter's iPhone apps, while Google's Android OS gained traction as a rival to the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Google has recently debuted new interactive features in its Google Maps applications for several smartphones, while also adding turn-by-turn navigation features to the Android version. None of these features have yet made it to its native iPhone app.

Speculation that Apple may be planning to go it alone for iPhone Maps isn't new, though. Earlier this year, the company bought mapping startup Placebase, whose technology includes exactly the kind of “highly interactive” features hinted at in the new job ad.

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