Apple Buys Their Very Own Maps Company (See Ya, Google Maps?)S

The Apple/Google divorce continues to come into focus: Apple quietly bought Placebase, a mapping service company, back in July. Apple doesn't buy companies it's not going to use. Meaning, Apple's getting into making their own maps. Peace out, Google.

Seth at ComputerWorld, who put this together, points to a post on GigaOm last year detailing the awesomeness of PlaceBase vs. Google Maps—mainly, customization and tons of ways to layer multiple kinds of data sets onto maps, with an API that makes it easy to layer on those data sets.

So maybe Apple wants these kind of intensive, custom geolocation mapping powers for the iPhone (and other stuff), or maybe Apple just wants to roll its own maps, so it's not depending on Google for the tiles. Which would actually go along with the same kind of independent streak we've seen in other areas from Apple, like designing custom chips for the iPhone (and maybe the Tablet) using its PA Semi acquisition, instead of using the same chips anybody can buy.

If Apple's got a new Maps app coming that's totally un-Googley, does that mean we can finally get a real Latitude app, since it won't confuse us anymore? Even if Google's tiles stick around in the iPhone Maps app for a while, Apple's definitely doing something with their new toy. [CW]