Apple is always on the news, but there are some tidbits that are worth more than others. Take for example the acquisition the company made late in March. Little known indoor GPS company WiFiSLAM suddenly made the headlines, thanks to Apple turning its eye on it. That also means sending cash its way, of course. Naturally, tech enthusiasts jumped on the news, with armchair pundits giving their two cents left and right.

Why Did Apple Buy WiFiSLAM?

But what is WiFiSLAM, really?

I love the name, but it does not really tell me what the company does. Aside from the term “indoor GPS” being dropped all over the place, a perfunctory look won’t give you anything. Here’s what WiFiSLAM does, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings.

We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking.

Here’s more.

So basically, WiFiSLAM makes use of a combination of technologies to make indoor mapping more accurate.

Now that makes a lot of sense…

Perhaps not the exact technology, but the acquisition by Apple. The fail that is the Apple Maps launch is a dead horse, something which should not be beaten at this point. But I am sure that still stings, and we already know how Google Maps has gone way ahead. With WiFiSLAM, Apple Maps might be able to have a fighting chance. I still use Google Maps, but I won’t mind using Apple Maps if they come up with a product at par – or better – than what the competitor has; and yes, that includes indoor maps.

P.S. By the way, one only has to read a little bit to find out that SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. 😉

[Image via nowtheendbegins]