Apple has finally admitted that it has indeed been gathering location data, but it isn't tracking you personally; the company claims it is using the 'anonymous' data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database.
This sounds suspiciously similar to the kinds of services offered by Android Maps' turn-by-turn navigation services and TomTom, which is no doubt quaking in its boots at the thought of competing directly with Apple.
Apple's Q&A states, "Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years."
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Currently the iPhone maps service offers directions with approximate timings based on the traffic on your route, but doesn't offer much more jam-based information than that.
The bell tolls
TomTom already uses information gathered from phone providers to offer a more accurate live traffic sat nav service, but the sheer wealth of information available to Apple – and only Apple – would make a proprietary turn-by-turn mapping service with accurate traffic data built in to the phone a serious contender.
And would, you know, remove the need for you ever to download TomTom's £50 app or invest in a stand-alone sat-nav device.
As Tap! Magazine's Chris Phin ponders, "Is the iPhone now so ubiquitous that location data from the millions of handsets in use – which, fundamentally, reports not only where you are but how fast you're travelling – is fine-grained enough to provide or even just boost live data about road congestion in a free satnav app Apple is developing for the iPhone?"
We'll find out in 'the next couple of years'; meanwhile, there's still time to make hay while the sun shines, TomTom.