Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
  1. MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener
    11:06 Deals

    Unreal Prime Day deal gets you a MyQ smart garage opener and a $40 Amazon credit for $17

  2. Amazon Dash Smart Shelf
    15:16 Deals

    I’m obsessed with this Amazon gadget you’ve never heard of – and it&#821…

  3. Prime Day Deals 2021
    04:05 Deals

    Amazon Prime Day deals 2021: See hundreds of the best deals right here

  4. Amazon Gift Card Prime Day Deals
    07:58 Deals

    Free money is definitely Amazon’s hottest deal of Prime Day 2021

  5. Amazon Prime Day Deals 2021
    12:56 Deals

    Amazon just announced a ton of new deals for day 2 of Prime Day

Revealed: Apple’s plan to leapfrog Google Maps

May 29th, 2015 at 2:28 PM
Apple Maps iOS 9

Even the most hardened of Apple fans has to admit that Apple Maps simply can’t hold a candle to Google Maps. Though Apple’s own Maps app has improved drastically since its 2012 introduction, the software still lacks a number of basic features — such as transit directions — one would expect to see in modern mapping software.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate humiliation: Jay Z’s Tidal could lose Beyoncé if it doesn’t pay Sony big bucks

But always looking to improve and iterate, albeit slowly but surely, 9to5Mac has finally solved a question that has been looming over the Apple community for months now — just what in the world are those Apple owned/leased minivans doing driving around the country with advanced camera rigs attached to the roof?

As it turns out, Apple has some big plans in store for its Maps app as it looks to finally reach feature parity with Google, if not leapfrog it altogether.

Sources tell Mark Gurman that Apple is intent on “developing its first entirely in-house mapping database to reduce its reliance on TomTom, using a fleet of mysterious vans to take still photos of business storefronts to replace Yelp photos, and building a 3D Street View feature.”

While numerous spottings of these Apple minivans fueled speculation that they were somehow related to Apple’s rumored car initiative, Gurman, whose track record with respect to Apple is practically spotless, relays that “they are solely being used to gather data and images for the Apple Maps application.”

With Apple reportedly bulking up its own in-house mapping database, Apple will be afforded even more control over the user experience.

But what’s truly exciting is what Apple may have in store for us with respect to Street View mapping. Street View in Google Maps is a great feature, to be sure, but Apple reportedly believes it can do better. Gurman relays that Apple sees room for improvement insfoar as Street View on Google Maps isn’t as intuitive as it could be.

Unfortunately, though, because Apple’s aforementioned mapping initiatives are somewhat new, it’s not likely we’ll see them appear in iOS 9, set to be introduced in just about a week’s time at WWDC.

To expand its 3D Flyover mode in Maps, Apple is working on ways to tie together its new camera data to make a street level version of 3D Maps for a future version of its Maps app. As Apple has only recently started collecting its 3D Street View data, such a feature is not likely to be imminent. However, Apple has another plan for the imagery it’s gathering that will appear sooner rather than later.

All in all, this is promising news, especially following reports that Apple’s Maps team has been in disarray for quite some time.

Looking ahead to WWDC, we can expect iOS 9 to finally include built-in transit directions for bus, subways, and trains. Indeed, transit directions have been a long time coming given that Apple has made a number of acquisitions in the mobile transit space over the last 18+ months.

It’s also worth noting that Apple earlier this year acquired Coherent Navigation, an extremely intriguing mapping company whose bread and butter centers on providing incredibly precise GPS software and systems. If and when Apple integrates Coherent Navigation’s technology into iOS, Apple’s GPS systems may be accurate “to within centimeters.”

All that said, Apple Maps has a ways to go before it can supplant Google Maps. But as far as we can tell, Tim Cook and co. are working tirelessly to bring that reality to fruition sooner rather than later.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

Popular News