Apple Maps: Tech giant snaps up indoor location firm WiFiSLAM for $20m

wifislamApple’s map-related woes were talk of the tech town for some time following its disastrous launch back in September. Headline writers everywhere were beside themselves with glee at the gift of an opportunity to create eye-catching titles claiming Apple had ‘lost its way’, ‘taken a wrong turn’, or was simply ‘heading in the wrong direction’. As you’ll most likely recall, it culminated in Apple boss Tim Cook composing a letter of apology to, well, everyone with an Apple device. And that’s a lot of people.

Since then, the Cupertino company has been working quietly but diligently on removing airports from farms, taking cities out of oceans and so on, and generally improving the overall Apple Maps experience for users who’d rather not use Google Maps.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, it’s also been hunting around for other outfits that may be able to help bolster the features offered with its Maps app. The Journal reported that the tech giant recently acquired indoor location firm WiFiSLAM, indicating Apple’s intention to at some point roll out some indoor-mapping functionality to compete with Google Maps and its indoor mapping features.

The Journal said that an Apple spokesperson – nameless, naturally – had confirmed the deal, which is said to have cost the company somewhere in the region of $20 million.

Silicon Valley-based WiFiSLAM says on its website it has the technology to enable a smartphone to pinpoint its location in real-time to 2.5-meter accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings. The two-year-old startup says it is working to create the next generation of location-based mobile apps – ranging from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking – that “for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place.”

Of course, Apple has some way to go before it has any hope of catching Google in the indoor mapping race – the Mountain View company has for a while now been offering indoor maps for a range of locations such as airports, hotels and shopping malls, and actively encourages business owners to upload their own floor plans to help improve the service.

Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Not ready for the new 'Fortnite' winter wonderland? Here's our tourist guide

Fortnite season 7 has arrived with some chilly winter air and some pretty hefty changes to the Battle Royale map. We've got the full guide to all of the map changes, new locations, new terrain, and more, right here.

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Need a last-minute gift? Get an iPhone Wireless Charger for under $20

Whether you're looking for stocking stuffers or gift ideas, these deals from Mophie, Anker, and Yootech can get you a wireless charging pad for cheap. Don't settle for wired charging if you don't have to.

Looking for an Apple MacBook below $900? Woot has you covered

If you're looking for a great deal on an Apple MacBook, then Amazon's Woot may just have what you have been seeking. It has Macbooks available for only $810 with Intel M3 CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSDs.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Protect your new iPhone with one of our favorite iPhone XR cases

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.