Numerous technology companies have released digital mapping applications in recent years, including Google and Microsoft, both of whom provide 3D technology in their offerings. Recently, a number of rumors surfaced suggesting that Apple might develop its own version of a 3D mapping application, which could potentially be included in its smartphone accessories as a mobile app.

According to Apple Insider, it is believed that Apple purchased the Swedish company C3 Technologies, which specializes in 3D mapping. Rumors in August suggested that C3 had been acquired by a Western company, with Apple, Microsoft and Google speculated as potential buyers. Recently, talk is pointing to Apple as the most likely of those three companies to have completed the company's purchase.

The news source reports that C3's capabilities are believed to be particularly sophisticated, involving planes equipped with digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras and photos from other angles that when combined, provide a genuinely 3D view of an area. C3's chief strategy officer Paul Smith confirmed this earlier this year.

"Unlike Google or Bing, all of our maps are 360-degree explorable," Smith said, according to the news source. "Everything, every building, every tree, every landmark, from the city center to the suburbs, is captured in 3D – not just a few select buildings."

PC Magazine reports that the price of the acqusition of C3 is estimated to fall somewhere between $240 million and $1 billion.