A new job listing shows Apple is looking for an iPhone Software Engineer to work on the Map and MapKit framework team, which is also responsible for the Compass app and other location-based services on the iPhone and iPod touch:
The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people's lives and we want to continue to do so. 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.
While Google's massive data hose currently powers the iPhone and iPod touch Maps.app, it was Apple who wrote the interface, and in classic Apple fashion, to end users the interface is the app. This means Apple is also free to modify not only that interface, but add, remove, and swap around data hoses in the background.
Add this job listing to previous news that Apple quietly acquired Placebase, a would-be Google Maps competitor, back in July, and it certainly looks like Apple is planning something interesting (and less dependent on Google?) for future Maps.app updates.
iPhone 4.0 speculation anyone?