Apple signs global agreement with TomTom for maps

Apple announced Monday its maps app that will likely compete with Google Maps

Digital maps provider TomTom said on Tuesday it has signed a global agreement with Apple for maps and related information.

Apple announced Monday at its World Wide Developers Conference that an upcoming version of its iOS operating system features a maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation, and interactive 3-D views, placing the company in competition with Google's Maps product.

TomTom already supplies its maps and related data to companies including Samsung, Research In Motion, and Google, but expects its relationship with Apple to be deeper, said company spokesman Taco Titulaer on Tuesday.

TomTom claims up-to-date digital maps that cover over 200 countries and territories. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company also offers an up-to-date route planner, including live traffic information. Other products include portable navigation devices, in-dash infotainment systems, and fleet management services. Its customers include Internet companies, mobile handset makers, and network operators, besides government and enterprise, the company said on its website.

TomTom will be the primary but not the only supplier of maps and related data to Apple, as the company does not have mapping data for some countries such as China, Titulaer said.

The upcoming iOS 6 includes vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming fluid, according to Apple. The maps app will also feature turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions, interactive 3D views, realtime traffic information with alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly, and local search for over 100 million businesses.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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