What New Features Do You Want in iOS7 Apple Maps?
So, everybody is talking about the UI overhaul in iOS. To me that is interesting, but certainly the improvements in functionality are just as important. One of the big tent poles of iOS 6 was Apple Maps.
Since its release Apple Maps has been improving at an astonishing rate. Apple has updated mapping data, added dozens of cities to Flyover and has been hiring people to do "ground truth" testing on Apple Maps. The Apple Maps API has been mostly praised with the exception of its ability to find POI's with fuzzy search terms. While Google provides broader results they are sometimes less accurate while Apple provides narrow results and often excludes things that you might want included.
Since the release of Apple Maps, Google has released their own Maps app for iOS. After the big "hooray" following the release, it seems nobody really talks about it anymore. I was one of the early downloaders of Google Maps, but since I have downloaded Google Maps, I have gone to it less than once per month in searching for locations. All in all, I find Apple Maps and navigation really good and I think Apple Maps has displaced a huge portion of feedback and traffic that Google was seeing from Maps. Google may start collecting that location data again from users opting in for the battery-draining "Google Now" feature of the Google app, but they will never get the same level of data from users that they got as the first-party solution to iPhone's mapping services.
Was Apple's goal to simply stop feeding valuable data to their fiercest competitor or do they plan to make big jumps in the functionality for Apple Maps? Bringing up Apple Maps one year since its introduction at the 2012 WWDC brings several questions to mind:
1) Apple knows that the media latched on to Maps as a big part of the media witch hunt last year. It was a sore topic that led to a Tim Cook apology and the departure of Scott Forestall. Bringing up Maps means giving the media the opportunity to write new negative stories about old news. Does Apple want to do this?
2) Apple has been gradually improving Maps in the past 12 months. Apple will certainly want to sum up all these improvements for the press to show them the degree of progress being made and how much better the Apple mapping solution is today. Is a summary of Maps improvements worth the hassle of bringing up Maps at all?
3) Apple Maps has been seriously lacking in the integrated "public transit" feature set that is found on Google's service. Will Apple announce new features or API to fill this gap?
4) Will Apple provide a better search implementation on Apple Maps to broaden the result set when not searching for near-exact terminology?
5) Will Apple introduce anything with Maps that would be revolutionary? Is there something we have not been expecting?
I am very interested to see what Apple has to say about Maps in iOS 7. What new features do you want to see in Apple Maps?
Summary of Features Suggested or Inspired from Comments:
- (from egojab) -- Desktop counterpart to Apple Maps (perhaps integrated into Mac OS X or as a web application)
- (from egojab) -- Keep third-party transit since third-party transit apps are better than Google's transit (maybe make it better or more integrated?)
- (from kvndugan and RedR) -- offline maps and navigation
- (from bradgreg) -- Make it possible to make Google Maps the default Maps app
- (from RedR) -- better re-routing when traffic problems are discovered
- (from BC2009) -- fare purchasing and toll payment directly from Apple maps through integrated third-party transit apps. This would be an expansion to the public transit API allowing you to plot a course and then pay for tolls and fares as you travel on that course directly through your iTunes App Store account.
- (from OUfan08) -- Night mode colors to keep from blinding you at night
- (from JulianoRossi) -- Waze data integration (especially for Brazil)
- (from JulianoRossi) -- Foursquare POI integration to supplement Yelp (especially internationally)
- (from Dan Gleibitz) -- Use a polygon mesh for POI's rather than coordinate points