Thoughts on the new maps in iOS 6

  • Posted: 14 June 2012 11:47 PM

    The new maps might be the most important part of the new OS, and while it’s still early, I think the first impressions are pretty good.  We didn’t know exactly how ambitious Apple was going to be in their quest to “build it from the ground up” but after seeing the long list of contributors, including TomTom, I think they took the conservative route and are willing to pay for proven data from third party companies for the time being.  This should alleviate some fears that the data portion of Apple’s new maps was going to be way behind the old Google maps.  And as far as the missing public transportation data, personally I don’t think it’s a big deal, but others may have differing opinions.  I think having a polished turn-by-turn aspect is much more important.

    On top of all that, the 3D maps are really pretty amazing.  It sounds crazy, but it’s the type of feature that can singlehandedly sell iPads.  Not because it’s something people can’t live without, but because it’s the sort of thing that people who have an iPad will be dying to show off to their friends.  And as soon as people see it, they’ll be blown away.  When you see the demos, it’s easy to assume that they’ve rendered the downtown areas of these cities and probably not much else beyond the skyscrapers, but that’s not the case at all.  Granted, it appears there’s only a dozen cities or so that they’ve modeled thus far, but the coverage in each city is staggering.  In Chicago for example, the 3D rendering extends 20 miles north of downtown all the way through the north shore suburbs.  In all, I’d estimate there’s roughly 300 square miles of full 3D renderings, just in Chicago.  That’s hundreds of thousands of rendered buildings, and they look incredible when you pan over the neighborhoods.  Who knows what the time table of getting more cities added will be, but I imagine they’ve got the resources to be pretty aggressive.  FYI, based on construction in the area, I’d estimate the Chicago 3D maps are about 3 months old.

         
  • Posted: 15 June 2012 11:52 AM #1

    I have more than one friend concerned with absence of street view.It appears that people use it to check quickly the real estate deals, if the store with the fancy name is actually what you needed without going out and few other uses.

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 12:36 PM #2

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app? Will it include turn-by-turn nav and street view? Apple eventually did allow Google Voice into the App Store and Google Earth has been there from the start, so it’s likely they would allow a Google Maps.

    ...a new application programming interface for transit apps to interface with Maps is a part of iOS 6…“When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers,” Forstall told developers. “And so instead of trying to develop those ourselves, we are going to integrate and feature and promote your apps for transit right within the Maps app in iOS 6.”

    “Apps that offer routing information, such as turn-by-turn navigation services, can now register as a routing app and make those services available to the entire system,” the release notes explain…“Registering as a routing app gives you more opportunities to get your app in front of users. Routing apps are not limited to just driving or walking directions. Routing apps can also include apps that provide directions for the user’s favorite bicycle or hiking trail, for air routes, and for subway or other public transportation lines.”

    The new APIs for routing and transit apps are a change from previous builds of iOS, which feature Google Maps data and services. Google’s mapping solution features its own built-in directions for public transportation, biking, hiking and more.

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/06/13/apple_hands_off_transit_directions_to_third_party_apps_in_ios_6_maps.html

    I agree that street view is a useful tool. The 3D Flyover feature in satellite view, however, looks like it will replace some of the street view functionality. In fact, it mixes in some of Google Earth’s functionality and allows you to view a location from all directions, not just the street view. It will take time for Apple to include more cities with Flyover, but I suspect they’ll move fast on this.

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 01:19 PM #3

    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

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  • Posted: 15 June 2012 01:23 PM #4

    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 01:33 PM #5

    mstefa - 15 June 2012 02:52 PM

    I have more than one friend concerned with absence of street view.It appears that people use it to check quickly the real estate deals, if the store with the fancy name is actually what you needed without going out and few other uses.

    One could always use the Google map website. Also as others have mentioned Google will probably do an app.

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  • Posted: 15 June 2012 02:05 PM #6

    Lee Dronick - 15 June 2012 04:33 PM
    mstefa - 15 June 2012 02:52 PM

    I have more than one friend concerned with absence of street view.It appears that people use it to check quickly the real estate deals, if the store with the fancy name is actually what you needed without going out and few other uses.

    One could always use the Google map website. Also as others have mentioned Google will probably do an app.

    when you run google maps from safari, there’s no street view as an option.

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 02:59 PM #7

    Thanks mstefa, I never checked with Safari.

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  • Posted: 15 June 2012 03:46 PM #8

    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM
    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    That’s my guess as well.  Google said at their announcement 2 weeks ago that they’ll support all platforms, which is basically their way of saying they’re creating a standalone app for iOS.  And there’s no way Apple would reject it.

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 04:07 PM #9

    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    I suspect this is what Apple wanted in any case. Google is holding back the voice turn by turn navigation feature in Maps. This move by Apple forces them to finally include that feature.

    This is great for consumers. With iOS 6, I instantly get turn by turn navigation. Anything I miss (Street view) will be accessible through a Google map app. Eventually the iOS Maps will catch up with Google maps.

    Android users will only have access to Google maps. iOS users will have access to both Apple and Google maps. Who is “open” now?

         
  • Posted: 17 June 2012 04:10 AM #10

    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM
    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    ...mine too

    ?When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers,? Forstall told developers. ?And so instead of trying to develop those ourselves, we are going to integrate and feature and promote your apps for transit right within the Maps app in iOS 6.?

    I hate to say this, but maybe Apple is indulging in spin here. Making an advantage of the disadvantage of being uncompetitive. Apple needs to let a Google Maps app with street view on the iPhone, because the platform needs to be at least somewhat open. But Google won’t displace the primacy of Apple’s maps app, because Apple’s has the API, and thus the linked third party apps.

    You’ll notice that third party apps will integrate into Apple’s app, i.e. into its UI.  It could easily turn out that Google’s best option is a (possibly paid-for) street view add-on to Apple’s Maps app! It may be the only way for Google to maintain its street view monopoly. Even better, it absolves Apple from responsibility for the privacy issues of street view.

    It seems to me Apple has thought this through quite carefully. Google did the original iPhone maps deal, presumably thinking that blocking any navigation feature would eventually give them the upper hand over Apple. SJ probably got a much better price (maybe even zero or negative) by letting Google think “the future is ours”, and was confident his engineers would find a solution when the future became the present. That time is now, and Apple is giving Google a way to keep street view on the iPhone, knowing Google will want to keep it there, despite Google maps losing the prime spot.

    How often did SJ let others think they had built up their power base while making a nice profit, only to discover a few years later that they had given it away?

    [ Edited: 17 June 2012 04:14 AM by sleepygeek ]      
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    Posted: 17 June 2012 11:55 AM #11

    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM
    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    Isn’t Google Earth a good enough substitute?

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  • Posted: 18 June 2012 02:00 PM #12

    awcabot - 17 June 2012 02:55 PM
    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM
    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    Isn’t Google Earth a good enough substitute?

    That was my thinking as well. Why have separate mapping-related apps rather than adding this functionality to Google Earth? I’ve almost never touched Earth on my iOS devices simply because it is a separate app from the one I use for maps.

         
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    Posted: 18 June 2012 03:39 PM #13

    awcabot - 17 June 2012 02:55 PM
    Mercel - 15 June 2012 04:23 PM
    geoduck - 15 June 2012 04:19 PM
    Drew Bear - 15 June 2012 03:36 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Google responds to iOS 6 Maps. Will they submit their own Google Maps app?

    A very good question. In addition would Apple reject the GoogleMaps App because it duplicates a feature in iOS?

    My prediction:  Google will launch a maps app and Apple will let them.

    Isn’t Google Earth a good enough substitute?

    Google Earth was fairly decorative last time I used it well over a year ago.  Beyond that, it was not useful.  Also, its terms of service encouraged me to obliterate from my computers.

         
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    Posted: 04 August 2012 10:31 PM #14

    How Apple’s new vector-based Maps leave Google Maps looking jittery

    ... highly efficient vector maps allows Apple to load up a large area of maps you can continue to zoom into even after you’ve entered Airplane Mode. This means that if you load a map of San Francisco then turn off network access, you can still zoom in and out all over a very large surrounding area without getting Google’s zoomed in jaggies and blank grid spaces.

    Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app still complains when there’s no data connection, but it will let you continue to zoom in and out of nearby areas you haven’t even previously visited, because it can continue to smoothly render the efficiently lean vector map data it has loaded.?

    After loading San Francisco and going offline, one can browse over 300 miles (480 km) south (nearly to Los Angeles), 335 miles (540 km) north to the Oregon border, and 300 miles east to the middle of Nevada, down to the primary city street level (in sharp detail but with few road labels).

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/08/03/inside_apples_new_vector_based_maps_in_ios_6.html

         
  • Posted: 06 August 2012 02:19 AM #15

    I’m hearing a lot of talk about Apple maps not having transit directions, and that being a huge disadvantage. With the API open to developers, wouldn’t transit directions for most major cities be available at launch or soon after? Am I missing something?