Aside from small additions like displaying alternate routes and the Show Traffic option, the Maps application received little attention from Apple during the recent iOS update. Some pundits expected the app to at least receive turn-by-turn directions.

But a revamped Maps app might still be in Apple’s plans. 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple has just quietly acquired “mind-blowing 3D mapping company” C3 Technologies, and that the Cupertino company is looking to take iOS maps to the next level…

The news comes shortly after the company’s website went down in July of this year, spawning tons of speculation. An announcement was made that C3 had indeed been bought-out by a Western-world company, but nothing more was ever revealed.

You might recall that Apple has made similar purchases in the past. Last year the company acquired Poly9, another 3D mapping startup team. And the year before it scooped up Placebase, a firm known for its mapping software.

Just as Apple did with Siri, you can bet that we’ll see the work of these companies eventually make their way into iOS — which is exciting considering some of their talents. Here’s a video of C3 Technologies rendering New York City:

If you recognize C3’s work, it’s because it powers Nokia’s popular Ovi Maps. The Finnish handset maker has been praised for its high-powered 3D mapping software. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship continues post-Apple acquisition.

With three strong mapping firms now in its stable, Apple is definitely setting the stage for something major. As 9to5Mac points out, Apple doesn’t scoop up companies nearly as often as its competitors. But when it does, it has a specific goal for them in mind.

  • Thricex

    Wow. I’m impressed, but I’ve got a feeling this will take a while.

  • Looks horrible on without being on wifi

  • Yarik

    i hope the update will come fast for the map app 🙂

  • @max_kas

    Probably when iOS 6 comes out, (wow that weird to say.) Just like when Apple bought Siri in April of 2010.

  • moob

    how was Show Traffic an addition to the recent update? i thought it’d been available since early 2009? I’ve used it for months, not reliably though 🙂

  • Jason

    i think apple is just getting ready to dump google as the google maps app is great, but Google probably doesn’t give them much room to expand and improve…since it is google’s data. I have noticed that my google maps loads slower than an android phone on wifi…same with att…i would say google is just making iOs user’s experience suck a little more…. (and yes compared with a slower android)

    • jo-macral

      This is typical in business. If you cannot win, try to make the competition look worse than it actually is.

  • sOleFresh

    Wow those renderings are pretty cool; can’t wait to see what apple has in store

  • Xepptizz

    But i like my streetview and my sataliteimages. I don’t really see a huge benifit from the 3d thing for people other hen urban explorers and basejumpers.

    • Xepptizz

      And snipers

  • Pettersen

    So its like http://maps.nokia.com/3D/ ?

    Stop pretending like this hasn’t been done before.

  • JoBerlin

    That pixel King Kong was the best part!