The iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S) continues to be a focus of rumors in the tech community, and today is just like any other day. This time it’s pertaining to the acquisition of a startup that focuses on GPS technologies.
And because any time a company like Apple makes an acquisition of any kind, people have to start pondering how the company might incorporate the startup’s technology into future products.
At this year's SALT New York conference, Jean Hynes, the CEO of Wellington Management, took to the stage to discuss the role of active management in today's investment environment. Hynes succeeded Brendan Swords as the CEO of Wellington at the end of June after nearly 30 years at the firm. Wellington is one of the Read More
Apple admitted in an official statement that it had acquired Coherent Navigation. Most people who have reported on the acquisition make the assumption that Apple will apply the startup’s technology to Apple Maps for the purpose of improving the much-maligned app which is second-rate at best after Google and maybe even third-rate after Nokia’s HERE Maps.
Of course if Apple does apply Coherent’s technology to its mapping app, then the iPhone 7 won’t be the only product that will get the improved GPS, as it will be rolled out to all iOS devices through an update to the Apple Maps app.
More than just maps
But a look at Coherent’s specialties raises some questions about that application. Granted, GPS is most often applied to maps, but that’s not the only application. Coherent CEO Paul Lego’s LinkedIn profile states that the company is “developing a commercial high-precisions navigation service that leverages the Iridium satellite network.” He lists the applications for the technology as oil and gas exploration, mining, construction, survey and agriculture.
Further, the company has done some work for the U.S. government. Needless to say, to relegate a company which clearly offers such high level applications for its technology to a simple mapping app seems a bit like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.
Apple following BlackBerry?
It sounds to me as if Apple may be going even harder after enterprise customers, possibly with aspirations of doing what BlackBerry is doing in its attempt to crawl back from the grave. The struggling Canadian smartphone maker is developing a suite of industry-specific apps, and Coherent Navigation could help Apple do the same, particularly in connection with GPS.
Indeed, this application could make a whole lot of sense for Apple, as it has focused on the healthcare industry through the addition of sensors and its HealthKit API. Adding a high level GPS technology to its offerings could offer a broad array of enterprise-focused applications, as listed on Lego’s LinkedIn profile.
Implications for the iPhone 7
At any rate, any new GPS technology could only help Apple with its mapping app. The bigger question though is whether Apple has something bigger planned. And if it does, then perhaps the iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S, although it’s probably too soon to expect the tech to be integrated in the iPhone this year) will have a hardware feature that goes beyond the simple Apple Maps app that will be upgraded on all iOS devices if Coherent’s technology is added to it.
Apple has begun to show some expertise in the use of sensors like the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and the heart rate and other sensors in the Apple Watch. Using the tech from Coherent could turn the iPhone 7 and future iOS gadgets into a futuristic compass or GPS system that goes beyond what we can imagine right now.