Putting aside the question about whether Applepurchased Placebase, it’s more interesting and worthwhile to consider why Apple is interested in pulling in and working with technologists like Jaron that obviously demonstrate the ability to pull together components and build a compelling, unique mapping stack.
Apple technology has increasingly added location capabilities. Address Book, Mail, and iCal all detect addresses and provide links to maps. iPhoto and Aperture understand coordinate tags and can provide maps as well. CoreLocation on the iPhone, and now in Snow Leopard, allow any developer to get the location of the device via a cascading order of geolocation: GPS, Wifi, IP, etc. Apple themselves developed the “Google Maps” iPhone application – just utilizing the Google API for tiles, location and routing.
Looking forward, it’s clear that Apple sees the important potential of location to support and augment almost all of their applications and platforms. Like any good business, the less dependent a company can be on third-party’s for core functionality, the better. Therefore, it makes sense that Apple would investigate ways to own and control this key component. [...]