In under half of a typical day, Apple
pulls in enough money to purchase the indoor-location company that it just purchased. So when you hear of a $20 million acquisition price for WifiSLAM, don't fret -- it's not like Apple is really digging deep into its cash coffers to cut the check. That said, it's always meaningful when Apple snaps up a company. The outfit doesn't make acquisitions willy-nilly, and they usually forecast something that's coming down the pike. Apple picked up LaLa and then doubled-down on its musical efforts. It purchased Siri
and then made it the standout feature of the iPhone 4S
. So, what's it going to do with WifiSLAM?
Well, the company is just two years old, and has reportedly "developed ways for mobile apps to detect a phone user’s location in a building using Wi-Fi signals." Over the years, Google has been quietly eating Apple's lunch when it comes to indoor positioning, rolling out Google Map views of multi-story shopping malls and the like. Interestingly, one of WifiSLAM's co-founders used to work at Google, and considering that Apple needs all of the help it can get in order to revamp its woeful Maps application that shipped with iOS 6, the pick-up seems like a wise one on a number of levels.
One can only assume that WifiSLAM's technology will be used to bolster Apple's mapping initiatives, but perhaps make things like Siri more useful. After all, a lot of iPhone users spend a good portion of their working days inside of thick, concrete walls, and as positioning becomes more vital for applications to work as desired, having this company under Apple's wing could help iOS 7 in an area that's needing improvement.