Apple is planning a major overhaul of its Maps app in a bid to take on Google. The firm is set to relaunch the app in iOS 9, according to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, and is expected to reveal it at a developers conference in San Francisco next month.
‘Apple now hopes to launch its Transit service with iOS 9, according to sources,’ the site claims. The new software is expected to be shown off at Apple’s worldwide developers conference in San Francisco next month. It is expected to include subway, bus and train route navigation. It would allow iPhone users to navigate mass transit via the official Apple Maps application for the first time since Apple removed Google as iOS’s official provider of map data.
In addition to the main functionality, there is also a trip planning feature for transit, and a new Transit view alongside the existing Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite/Flyover views. The new service would appear as an app on Apple’s devices to help commuters find the best way to make their journey by public transport.
Apple said it will pull together information from different transport networks in an area to provide up-to-the second information to calculate the quickest route. Users will be able to search for transport options using a map and their location, or by time, or a particular route. It proposes using a ‘dynamic focus table’, which provides a list of options that are updated as new information comes in, and changes as commuters move along their route.
Apple claims it would be able to use information provided by transport companies themselves, information collected by third parties, and even data from sensors carried on board vehicles. The patent application said: ‘The commute application provides a novel user interface that presents the routes and the schedules for the routes in an intuitive and fluid manner. ‘For instance, the commute application of some embodiments includes several user interface widgets for facilitating the presentation of different routes that are part of different transit systems in a way that different route alternatives can be easily viewed.
The firm is also believed to have been making progress on its plans to map indoor spaces. 9to5Mac says the company has also let loose autonomous robots with iBeacon sensors, similar in size to iRobot’s Roomba vacuum cleaners, to collect data for its indoor mapping project. It is also believed the mysterious vans recently spotted could help both Apple’s car project and add a streetview style view to maps.