Apple’s iOS 6 to take on Google with new Maps service

12 Jun 2012

Apple gives a preview of how its Maps service will appear

Apple’s next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, which it is set to unleash in the autumn for the iPhone, iPad and iPod, will boast a new Maps feature, designed in-house, that will essentially downgrade Google Maps for Apple device users.

Yesterday, at WWDC, its annual developers conference in San Francisco, Apple unleashed what it is planning for what it called the world’s most advanced OS.

It will work with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, the iPad 2, plus fourth-generation iPod touch devices.

The new OS will have a slew of new features – more than 200, apparently – including a new map app. Apple said it will boast flyover view and turn-by-turn navigation, as well as vector-based map elements to make graphics and text smooth.

According to Apple, the mapping service will also feature photo-realistic interactive 3D views and real-time traffic information.

Apple indicated that the new Maps app will also host information on more than 100m businesses with Yelp ratings and available deals.

Google Maps has supplied mapping data to iPhone users since it came out in 2007.

Keep your eyes on the road …

 Turn-by-turn navigation on the upcoming Apple Maps service

Apple’s preview of its turn-by-turn navigation on Maps

In its Maps preview, Apple said its Maps service users will be able to find their way to destinations using turn-by-turn spoken directions, a 3D view, and real-time traffic information.

Apple said that, when one comes close to a turn, Maps will speak directions, so people can keep their eyes on the road. In addition, Apple said the screen will transform into a 3D perspective view of the road ahead.

In contrast, Apple was less frosty with Facebook. As part of its upgraded Siri features, users, for instance, will be able to ask Siri to update their status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app.

“We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6, including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app,” declared Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice-president of iOS Software.

As well as this, the new OS will also come with support for FaceTime calls.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic