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Apple is reportedly in discussion with Foursquare for a collaboration that could see the companies enter a landmark data sharing deal.

According to “people familiar with the talks” cited by The Wall Street Journal, the iGiant is in an early stage of negotiations with the location-based social network to gain access to valuable local data in a bid to enhance its much-derided proprietary Maps application.

The talks are set to have taken place in recent weeks and involve Apple’s senior vice president of internet services and software, Eddy Cue. It is thought Apple wants Foursquare support to be baked right into iOS, much like with Twitter and Facebook.

Although exact details are still thin on the ground, smart money is on the ability to check in to places without launching the Foursquare app, possibly from within the notifications centre.

Apple has already added support for local directory service Yelp in iOS 6, but Foursquare’s ‘Explore’ feature, which recommends nearby places, is perhaps more appealing to users.

News of developments come hot on the heels of Google’s announcement that its all-new, standalone Maps app for iOS has been downloaded a whopping 10 million times in just two days of entering the App Store.

Apple Maps, which replaced Google Maps as the default mapping solution in iOS 6, has come under intense scrutiny for an embarrassing level of inaccuracies, whereby locations are often misplaced, misspelt or missing entirely.

The company’s CEO Tim Cook has already apologised for the blunder and has promised “a huge plan” to improve it. Whether Foursquare integration is part of that plan is something only time will tell.

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