TechCrunch had a good piece out today
on Apple's revelation that they now have their own location database, (instead of Google and Skyhook's) since iOS 3.2. (Of course, we reported that more than a week ago
;-) ) TechCrunch's
MC Siegler reached out to Skyhook for comment, and while they didn't say anything about their deal with Apple, they did allow that location data "is going [to] be huge and owning it is going to be the next big war in mobile.“ Apple's already made some early moves to arm up for this "war," with its declaration of independence from Google just the first step.
Location-based services (LBS) on mobile phones are nothing new. After all, most of us use Google Maps quite a lot, especially when we're on the move. When you're out of your neighborhood, you sometimes need to find somewhere to eat, maybe a drug store, an ATM, etc. We've also seen a plethora of different LBS applications that will do things like tell us where our phones are
, warn of traffic jams and speed traps
ahead, and turn your phone's camera into an AR browser
. Apple's clearly taken note of the possibilities of LBS for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch: iAd
is just the latest example of ways Apple tries to leverage location data to improve its services (and make money, obviously). A patent it took out back in 2008
describes a whole social-networking service that would let you connect with other iOS users in your immediate area. It only makes sense for Apple to want to have complete control of the location data it needs to make all that work.
Meanwhile, Skyhook Wireless, who got left high and dry by Apple, is apparently looking for a buyer. In what is almost a Skyhook "FOR SALE" ad on the Silicon Valley Insider
(which "shares an investor" with Skyhook), Dan Frommer wonders if it will be Microsoft or HP, with their new "iPad killers, who will hook up with Skyhook, or whether it'll be a handset maker like RIM or Motorola, or if Qualcomm or Cisco will want to snap it up. Skyhook said it's a "war," so I guess that makes them… what, mercenaries?