Apple to Take iPhone's Maps App to 'the Next Level'

MacRumors has found a new Apple job listing seeking an iPhone Software Engineer to join the iPhone and iPod Touch Maps team with the goal of taking the iPhone's built-in Maps App to "the next level":

We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We've only just started.

The specificity of the job description is somewhat unusual for Apple, and particularly interesting given recent events.

Apple and Google have increasingly become competitors in the mobile space while Google's mapping data remains an integral part of the iPhone's Maps application. Google has recently stepped up even further with the introduction of many new features for their Android mapping application. This included advanced features such as plain english search, voice search and more. Although Apple and Google are said to be working on bringing the same technology to the iPhone, there's been evidence that Apple is working on their own mapping technology.

Apple recently acquired a mapping company called Placebase which had been known for differentiating itself from Google's offerings. The former CEO of Placebase is now part of the "Geo Team" at Apple, which has led to speculation that Apple is looking to separate itself from their dependence on Google maps.