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Apple to drop Google Maps in iOS 6 for in-house Maps? (9to5mac.com)
179 points by blearyeyed on May 11, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 139 comments



This entire article boils down to one sentence "According to trusted sources, Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application."

The rest of it is speculation about what might exist.


The headline is obnoxious too. It hasn't happened. It might happen, but the way they wrote it makes it sound like Tim Cook got on a podium and announced that to the world.


As speculative as it seems, this coincides with that mapping company Apple bought in recent times. Forgot the name of the company, but they had some beautiful 3D views of select cities. For all you know Apple might make 3D maps standard in iOS 6. Damn, wouldn't that be something :).


Honestly, the utility of 3D maps is way overblown. Even satellite map tiles are too- way too much extra, unimportant information.


I uprated you, but honestly it's incredibly useful to see the satellite details for several things - find a kids park with good greenery (or extensive playground) via satellite map as opposed to Google/yelp directory information is a hell of a lot easier. If you're looking to buy a house, you can easily determine if the location is close to any undesirable looking areas. Some minor landmarks (say, a parking lot) are also visible to satellite that may not be shown or easily inferred without imagery.

A picture (tile) is worth at 1,000 words indeed.


That depends on what you are using the map view for.

I've often used the satellite/hybrid view to help orient myself in unfamiliar cities or areas by finding reference points (coloured buildings, obvious statues or landmarks etc)...

If you just want to know that a given address is on street X between avenues 4 and 5, then sure, but that's not the only use for a Maps app..


Maybe I'm just an excessive planner, but I like satellite maps and google's street view for things such as: locating parking lot entrances, locating exactly where a business I'm visiting is, scoping out street parking, getting an idea of the neighborhood's look, and, of course, seeing if my car is pictured anywhere.


> Even satellite map tiles are too- way too much extra, unimportant information.

They're great for geocaching though.


So true, saved so much hunting time by using the satellite maps! Especially the nano's in the middle of cities etc!


Apple bought three geo-related companies in the last few years. My guess is C3 Technologies for 3D/"satellite" layer, Poly9 for the street maps layer, and Placebase for the POI. I imagine they've been working on unifying them for a while now and we will see the fruit of that labor soon.


That would be Nokia. See:

http://maps3d.svc.nokia.com/webgl/


It was this:

http://www.slashgear.com/apple-acquires-c3-technologies-for-...

It looks a lot like Google Earth. Google can just integrate Google Earth into the mobile maps to compete. They've already done it on the web version.


That's what I keep thinking every time someone talks about Google getting beaten in maps. They've had the "eye candy maps app" available for download for seven years now.

That said, having some competition in the market is a good thing. I do wish more of it was concentrated on free products like OpenStreetMap though.


There's a distinct difference, as far as I know: the C3 solution can do large-scale automated rendering of 3D terrain based on aerial photography, and Google Earth's geomodeling is done by hand. That means that Apple can, effectively, render the entire world in 3D if they choose to, limited only by money and computing resources. Google is limited by manpower.


Apple bought a startup focused on mapping but it wasn't Nokia. I don't remember the name of the company...



And yet there it is on the front page of HN.


In particular, the breathless "Video: What the Hoover Dam will look like on the iOS 6 3D Map mode".


That's the Apple's distortion field in action.


No, it's shitty journalism in action.


I think the primary component of Apple's distortion field is shitty journalism.


The RDF gives free license to shitty journalism. Trendy subjects makes SEO-obsessed content mill writers happy. Just read Techmeme - the content is almost all trendy garbage.


There's nothing wrong with speculating based on facts, as long as you make it clear that it's speculation and not reality.


They're not speculating based on fact, they're speculating based on an anonymous source's tip, which may or may not be true. In fact given their history of posting about every Apple rumour that exists, I wouldn't put much weight onto the accuracy of this rumour at all.

This doesn't mean I don't think a new maps app is coming, I just don't think 9to5mac's sources would know about it if it was.


I fear that if true this might be a step backwards for users outside of the US, as Google has spent a massive amount of effort collecting Street View data from all over the world.

I highly doubt that Apple or the mapping companies it has acquired have quite the same coverage.


The breadth and depth of Street View can be easily underestimated. They even have data for my town.

But more importantly, Street View is not as useful as having good and up to date maps. GMaps added the maps for my town much later, but now the maps have good coverage and are up to date. No other service is as good as GMaps for Europe, although Yahoo Maps was better for Europe a while back.

Another thing is turn by turn navigation. Google does have turn by turn navigation for my country, which is freaking awesome. Not only that but for my town they announced they are working on adding info on public transport routes.

And btw, when I'm saying "my town", I mean Bucharest, Romania, Eastern Europe. And I don't know how people cope with the above in other countries, but in Bucharest the data for turn by turn navigation and for the public transport routes has to be refreshed very often, so I'm sure it's a PITA doing this for so many countries.


Exactly. Google mapped the major urban centres of South Africa, my country, before the 2010 Football World Cup, but since then they've been regularly refreshing the data and adding map and Street View data for even small towns in out of the way places. The coverage they have is phenomenal, especially considering the fact that S. Africa is hardly a major country.


Google does NOT provide the maps data in Romania. Those maps are created by the public, unpaid volunteers, under onerous Terms and Conditions.

They should direct their efforts to Open Maps instead...


I like GMaps because it gets me from point A to B, where B is usually vaguely defined. So it solves an important problem for me, which is why I like it, in spite of shortcomings such as being a closed proprietary product.

I also do not think that the maps data in GMaps is created by "public, unpaid volunteers". This statement badly needs a reference.

I once tried submitting the details of a business in GMaps and the process was so awful that I gave up. But while I do agree that volunteers would better spend their time with OpenStreetMap or similar, it is really none of your business how people choose to spend their time.


Please note I was talking about GMaps data for Romania, not in general.

Do a search on Google Map Maker if you need a reference.

People volunteer their time wherever they want, but OpenStreetMaps data stays open, while Google's becomes proprietary, for profit, the moment you put it in.


That said, as I user, I benefit directly from correcting the data in GMaps, while since I don't heavily use OSM on mobile, it is a nice gesture from me but isn't giving me much if I change OSM.


If Apple does switch to their own maps, I'm sure Google will come out with their own independent Google Maps app in the App Store, like they have for Google+ and other products.

If nothing else, their database of businesses is hugely valuable and useful in its own app (it's what I use the Maps app for most and I don't think Apple will be able to fully replace it, at least not with the first iteration).


> If Apple does switch to their own maps, I'm sure Google will come out with their own independent Google Maps app in the App Store, like they have for Google+ and other products.

I thought Apple does not allow apps competing with the "core" apps.


That rule was dropped a long time ago. AFAIK, the only remaining restriction is using Safari's rendering engine for browser apps.

Examples:

  * Opera vs Safari.app
  * Sparrow vs Mail.app
  * Vimeo vs YouTube app
  * Agenda vs Calendar.app
  * Kik vs Messages.app
  * Simplenote vs Notes.app
(I believe it came out that that "rule" was only used as an excuse for Apple to delay the Google Voice app. After they finally agreed to let Google Voice on the App Store a year later, I don't think I've ever seen anyone complain about it.)


"That rule was dropped a long time ago"

There are no rules for approval on the appstore. Just guidelines.

If Apple feels like it is in their best interest, it will allow the Google Maps app in the Appstore. Otherwise it reject the app.


It's actually not the rendering engine but interpretation of code downloaded from the netwOrk (i.e. JavaScript) which must use Apple's interpreter. That interpreter happens to be tied into their browser, so using it for other things is impractical.


I wonder if that appstore version of Google Maps could be blocked under "duplication of functionality"?


Mapquest 4 Mobile and Maps+ are both in the app store...so I would doubt that this would be the case. I believe that clause of "duplication" is not enforced anymore.


But doesn't Apple tend to reject apps that duplicate OS features? Or has that changed?


As an iOS user from Europe I seriously hope they will do the transition gradually - e.g. first migrate only the US users, then country after country like they do with new iTunes content for example.


Is street view anything more than a fringe benefit? Google Maps got popular long before they had it. As long as you've got detailed street maps, ideally with actual stores and whatnot at their addresses, that should be enough to roll out.


A map application by itself is certainly useful, but streetview provides certain benefits that a map alone doesn't provide. For my uses it is critical. Every year I take a 7 day vacation with my father on our motorcycles. Streetview allows me to gauge to scenic quality of the road, if the satellite quality is bad, it allows me to see if the road it paved. It allows me to find out if Folsom, Torreon, or Lukachukai and other tiny towns we pass through have a gas station. I don't know much about the 3D stuff apple is working on, but I have my doubts that it will be able to do the above in remote places. I'm sure it will still work well as a map, but streetview provides real benefits that cant really be gotten without driving the road.


Anecdotal data point: I've just had a look at Street View to plan a short trip to a part of town I've never been before. I use it to look at complex crossroads where I need to take a turn so it will look familiar when I get there. I do not use a GPS for that kind of trips (it would be overkill.) So for me Street View is what makes google maps so useful.


I've found it very useful on more than one occasion, but that's not why it's so important. Rather it's that as a result of their Street View mapping Google has developed an extremely accurate map database of even obscure corners of the world which in turn has allowed them to offer turn-by-turn navigation for those areas.


I didn't know that, but in that case it would make sense if causation was the other way around: that Street View was a by-product of "develop[ing] an extremely accurate map database of even obscure corners of the world".

"We're gonna be driving around all these places anyway. Let's stick a camera on top of the cars when we do it."


When I go to a job interview, I like to check what the street looks like and where is the entry of the building. It relieves some anxiety (although it didn't prevent me from getting completely lost once). Street view is one of the most useful features of online maps.


When we were looking to buy a house, Street View allowed us to see what the neighboring area looked like; listings rarely include details like "surrounded by three auto-repair shops" or "half of the houses on the block look abandoned".


Street view or ISO (bird's eye) view are both indispensable to me, because they show store fronts instead of roofs. When I'm driving around, I can't see the roofs, so that does me no good.


Living in a country with no street numbers / very few road names... Yes.


You may not realize it but you make one and possibly two assumptions with this statement, first that Apple isn't currently collecting equivalent street view data (Microsoft has done the same with their mapping product), and possibly two that the collection of the data for Apple would take as much time as it did for Google.

Sure there is the physical drive around stuff. But if you look at the C3 stuff (the company Apple bought that turns satellite images into 3D views) you can see where they might go with it. Also they do have a ton of cash and it would be seriously less than half a billion dollars to take a picture of the world. You might even get Toyota to make the 'steet view' edition version of the Prius in quantity.

The key thought for me here is that if this report is true, then Apple has decided mapping is strategic and taken it in house. And like Google (who did this in part so they could offer turn by turn directions [1]) they could exploit data they own for a wide variety of purposes.

[1] The original sources of Google's map information did not include a license to use it for turn by turn as that was exclusively given to another company by the vendor. Google had to acquire their own data without those restrictions in order to do navigation.


Beyond pushing Google further out of their device and perhaps creating a more accurate mapping system, what do you think are the "strategic" points for bringing cartography in house? It's not like Apple would be interested in unmanned vehicle nav, or something... right?

I myself can't think of any strategic reasons beyond competition with Google.


The strategic reason is mobile.

It isn't well known but all of these databases of aerial imagery, maps, street directions, speed limits, addresses are all sometimes licensable by third parties, sometimes not, and sometimes at extortionate rates.

How much of your mobile experience hinges on your use of location data? From turn by turn directions, general maps, businesses nearby, mass transit schedules, to friend locations and check-ins. Bottom line, Geographic information systems (GIS) data is a must-have feature for a smartphone.

Google has started raising the price on access to their data, this started a while ago and its been in fits and starts, but Apple can't just 'dump' all map info. Microsoft, same deal $$ for map datasets. So Apple is in the position of its two largest competitors having a way to suck arbitrary amounts of money out of them because they are suppliers of the 'must' have data on a smartphone.

New independent companies that can create GIS datasets can't compete with 'free' from Google and Microsoft for users, and even if they succeeded in creating a decent database and Apple used it, they would be subject to being purchased by Google or Microsoft. Finally there are patents (of course) around the use of map data and constructing maps etc from imagery, which a small company could not defend against but Apple can.

Therefore Apple has to own a GIS database that is at least as good as Google's version so that it can continue to provide a critical feature on their phone cost effectively.


It is more of a defensive move than an offensive one it sounds like.


What a lot of hot air. The killer aspect of Google Maps on Android is the turn by turn navigation with traffic. That saves me hundreds of £ a year and is just brilliant.

"but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience"

I'm sorry, but what a lot of bullshit.


Yeah, I can't say I've ever had a problem with Google's maps on iOS being unreliable, slow or ... whatever problem is supposedly corrected by a 'cleaner' app.

I'm sure Apple could improve those things and I may well notice and appreciate the improvements. But I'd much rather see turn by turn navigation and useful traffic data. [1]

[1] By useful, I just mean something proactive and actionable. Allowing me to manually scan my route to look for yellow and red highlights doesn't really help. And by the time I know I'm in a jam, it's not a huge help to know how far the jam is. It's nice, but I'm already in the jam.

It would be awesome if we could get something that takes a programmed commute and sends notifications about backups not yet encountered and offers alternate routes -- taking into account the full traffic situation. So that if the 'obvious' detour is already also backed up, it doesn't send me that way either.


Google's maps on Android kicks iOS's butt- the vector rendering makes it much much faster, turn-by-turn navigation and offline mode.

In case you aren't aware, the Android version doesn't download the image tiles, rather it downloads the raw data and renders the streets and everything client side. This makes it much faster to get the data and makes a smoother zoom experience.


That sounds like a better way to do it, I'm just saying that I've never found myself really waiting for map tiles unless the network connection itself was awful. I'm sure less data would mean more data connections squeak into the usable column, but I'm rarely in those places, so it's just not high on my list.

The turn by turn, though, would be much more welcome. Though now that I think about it, turn by turn would increase my use dramatically and probably expose more poor network situations where the client-side rendering would make a difference.


I always seem to lose data connection just when I really need it with google maps on iOS. The whole data everywhere thing works great in big mostly flat low density cities like LA but it doesn't seem to work so well in London and barely works at all in mountainous rural areas. It would be great if the mapping data were stored on the phone.


I remember when my wife got her iPhone 4S. We were heading out to somewhere and, having an Android phone for work and seeing that her iPhone had a Google Maps application, figured that we could use her phone to help us get to our destination.

Imagine my surprise when not only did it not have turn by turn navigation, but it didn't recalculate the route when we made a wrong turn and were clearly driving off of the calculated path. I couldn't believe that such a feature was missing on the iPhone version of Google Maps.

Is there some reason that this is the case? I don't know enough about mapping and phones to know if this is due to some technical limitation or not.


> Is there some reason that this is the case?

The app is made by Apple, not Google, though it is using Google's API. So it isn't really "Google" Maps.


It used to be you could only get those features by purchasing Apples $50/year add on which included turn by turn and device locator functionality (parents could track children or you could catch a thief after your phone was stolen). Not sure if those are still options or not.


Can you detail that ? I don't know that Apple ever offered a monthly turn by turn option, only carriers. The device locator was/is free.


For turn by turn a lot os ios users use the Waze app. I've used it a fair bit and really like it.


I’m sure Apple would if the could. They obviously can’t, though. I can’t imagine that Google would allow them to implement those features. So Google is the holdup. Apple uses Google’s API and is completely dependent on them in what they can do. (Hey, that’s their right. No problem with that. You don’t have to allow your competitor everything.)

That is exactly the reason why Apple has to do it on their own. It might be worse than Google Maps (at least in the beginning or forever), but at least it will allow for progress.


Google has made it very clear that they want to build Google Maps for iOS and provide the same experience as is available on Android. It was, for a long time, an explicit no-no to provide turn-by-turn navigation in an iOS app.


There's no excuse now, though. A top ten app on the store is MotionX Drive, there are even apps by Navigon and TomTom out there too. Google could come along and eat all of their collective lunches if they'd just do it.


No, they still can't because it reproduces functionality of the OS. They could provide just navigation, but if they ported the Google Maps app to iOS, it's very likely that it will be rejected for the same reason that a port of Chrome would.


Port of Chrome would be rejected for completely different reason: Apple disallows downloading and executing dynamic code from internet unless they're executed by Safari's JavaScript engine. This is not the case with Map. There's already a lot of GPS apps with different map data than the one in Maps app.


Not true, as the other apps already have a very, very similar mapping function (MotionX especially, if you don't spring for the turn-by-turn option)


Uhm, it’s Google that doesn’t allow turn-by-turn navigation, not Apple. I bet Apple would be delighted if they could.


Can Apple do it in their own app? That’s the relevant question. Third party apps are irrelevant.

Google doesn’t allow third party developers (and that includes Apple, obviously) to offer turn-by-turn navigation. Here are the terms (10.2 c): https://developers.google.com/maps/terms

Letting Google build the maps app is obviously out of the question. That’s a pretty ridiculous idea. Would Google let Apple build a critical piece of Android? Obviously not.

(Also, where has Google made that clear? That’s a serious question. I’m not aware of any such statements from Google, so it would be awesome if you could point me in their direction.)


That lackluster Google experience is exactly why Apple is building a replacement in-house. They are sick of dealing with Google undercutting them.


Apple made the app.


...abiding by the limitations imposed by the Google Maps API which is what is to blame for it lacking those features.


Either you have a fleet of trucks or you are overestimating how much Android's navigation is saving you.

When my GPS broke down, I didn't start using my phone, I just bought another GPS for 99 euro.

(And funny thing is the old one has just some loose wires and could be fixed a few months later by an electrician.)


It seems awfully strange to nit pick about the savings. So what if it's saving him only £50 per year or whatever? Can we agree that it's nonzero? Ok great. Now we can move on to addressing the meat of the comment.

Which is that iOS users have been denied the luxury of excellent and free turn-by-turn navigation available on Android, and this maps update does nothing to address that.


I've always assumed that iOS doesn't do live turn-by-turn directions in their native maps app in part because of licensing terms encumbering the routing data. Moving away from Google to their own algorithms (or to direct deals with other data providers) could free them of those terms. If so, I'd be surprised if they didn't add turn-by-turn directions to the app.

Of course, they'd undercut all the paid turn-by-turn apps, but they haven't been shy about that sort of thing in the past.


To me, using navigation on the phone would be more of a convenience than a matter of savings.

The 99 euro GPS I was talking about was the cheapest in store and it even had Traffic Message Channel (TMC), something the older one didn't.

Also, the GPS would get super hot in the windshield -- I would have never used my phone instead!

Anyhow, all that out of the way, I guess you are right that turn by turn would be nice on iOS.


I think you're forgetting how much a device of similar capability to the Android navigation cost before it was free on most smartphones. And subscription costs. Your inexpensive GPS unit was put on perpetual clearance by the app you're disparaging.


I am glad that free mobile apps are putting a cap on GPS makers' profits!

But since a mobile app depends on a mobile data plan I could never use it when I need the GPS the most: when I'm abroad.

Within the US I guess it would make sense to start using you phone and your data plan as a GPS, but within EU it would get really expensive really fast. That's why a dedicated GPS unit seemed to me like a better idea.


My point is that the fact that the app exists is the reason you didn't pay 250 euro plus 99 euro every year for the privilege of getting updated maps for that unit.


Google is doing with their Android platform what Microsoft did when it decided to bundle IE with Windows. Funny how MS got blasted by every geek in existence back then, but nowadays it's so commonplace that companies are lauded for it.


I am not sure I understand - Microsoft was blasted because it destroyed the commercial browser market by offering a superior product for free?

No.

Microsoft was blasted because you had no choice in the matter, even if you wanted to use a different browser than IE, there was no way to make anything but IE behave well with the rest of the OS.


The genius in Android's system is not necessarily the navigation. It's the METHOD for performing the navigation. Google parses your email and texts for potential addresses that you can click to launch navigation.

Every other GPS system, including the expensive Navigon package I bought for my iPhone ask you State? City? Street? Number? Oh how I'd love for someone to be able to text me their address while I'm driving and be able to click the link and be automatically routed.

Google's upper hand is in integration. If I had a Tom Tom or a Garmin that could read my email or texts and then start navigating, I'd buy it.


We're really happy for you, you have so much money you can afford to waste it.

But normal people doesn't.


Google maps could definitely be improved upon. it makes mistakes all the time, and the huge feature they brag about -- being cloud based / up to date -- is never up to date enough to really matter. there has been construction going on for months on a major road in my city, and google maps still pretends it is open. so much for the cloud.


openstreetmaps is much faster for that kind of things :) not unlike wikipedia is much faster at updating than a normal encyclopedia, or something like that.


I've been wondering, how long does it take for a change to go from an edit in OSM, to being live in a routing app using OSM data? (If such an app exists)

Editing something is usually fast, having it percolate to all users of the data is much longer (for GMaps, but I expect it's similar for OSM).


it depends: some tiles are updated very frequently for visualization. My experience is that it is no more than a hour or so to see the changes live. Therefore if somebody pulls from OSM, it will get the new version.


And all I want is a decent Google Maps app on my iPhone. The Android map is so far above what iOS offers - having recently lost my Galaxy s2 to a freak elevator accident I thought I'd go back to iPhone for a while, and this was one of many shocks to the system. I'm approaching the feeling that the only things iPhone does better than Android (for my purposes) is store music and sync podcasts.


Did you drop the phone into the tiny crack between the elevator car and the wall? Because I have nightmares about doing that whenever I carry a smartphone around an elevator.


I thought I was the only person who ever had these nightmares. I almost always put my phone in my pocket before stepping in and out of an elevator.


My friend managed to lose his keys down the gap. Elevator technicians got them out next time they were in the building.


I have the opposite opinion, when I lots my iPhone and fell back on my Nexus One. The maps were awful, it would never get my current positions. Preloading map areas sounded like a great idea, but it never worked well for me. It would constantly forget the surrounding area, even 1 minute after it was just working.

I understand the Google version uses vectors rather than images, so it should work better, but never did for me.


How did this get on the front page of HN?

This is just another rumor speculating about things that were speculated on last month, and the month before that, etc. I guess I don't understand what makes this one so much more interesting or credible/worthy of much discussion.

Edit: Also, the link/headline is totally misleading. I'm sure others have said this too.


How did this get on the front page of HN?

Hn is run on a software stack that allows a registered user to submit a link/URL to an item they determine to be of potential interest to the community.

After that link is submitted it appears on the listing of recently submitted articles at the /newest URL. Other users (with sufficient karma) that also find the link of value either upvote it, flag it, and/or comment on it.

As an item receives upvotes and/or comments an algorithm ranks it accordingly amongst other submitted stories, making it potentially visible on the "front page" of the site.

An items ranking is an overall generic indication that a sufficient number of users have found it noteworthy (or not).

It's all really pretty basic and uses a concept that has been around for about 7 or 8 years now. However this "how did this item get to the front page..." question seems to come up with enough frequency that an answer should be more easy to find, or maybe even be emailed to all new accounts so that people will not need to ask these sorts of questions amongst discussions of the article itself.


I am reasonably certain that chucknelson is aware of the technical way a story makes it to the front page. His question then should be read as "how has a sufficient number of users found this noteworthy?"


Ah, it's nice to have some balance to the snarkiness, thanks! :)


His question then should be read as "how has a sufficient number of users found this noteworthy?"

Because the HN community as a whole is actually interested in different topics/items than what he personally suspects it is interested in?

Because HN has changed/declined/gone to shit/been overrun with trolls from reddit/fosters a secret voting cabal/etc.?

Really, how many times are this "How did this get on the front page" kinds of questions going to be asked? I'm somewhat shocked those questions/comments don't get downvoted to hell, but then again I guess the HN community as a whole doesn't always feel the same way I do :) I just read what interests me...


I accidentally upvoted you, so I figured I should leave a comment explaining why I intended to downvote you: you either failed to understand the question, or chose to intentionally provide a useless and snarky answer. The GP was asking a social question about how the HN userbase had changed such that a rumor like this made the site.


Do you know what the word rhetorical means?


Probably because it's the first to definitively say the new Maps are coming in iOS 6.

It's common knowledge that Apple has been buying maps companies to build their own app, but AFAIK this is the first time we've gotten a solid release date.


How about spoken turn-by-turn navigation first so people can stop risking their lives and the peoples lives around them every time a turn is coming up?


I'm not sure it's fair to pin that on Apple. There are a number of navigation apps in the App Store, free and paid, that anyone can download (I use Navigon and it's paid for itself a hundred times over).

It's not as if Apple doesn't permit them, they just choose not to include it for free.

Would you say Google is obligated to add free text messages to Android just because Apple has it (iMessage) and it saves money for people?


Well, in all fairness, Google does offer free text messages in Android via Google Voice.


Or how about people take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others by using a product which does support spoken turn-by-turn?


Waze is decent and free and uses crowd-sourced map corrections.


Waze is OK but you'll need an overall intuition of your route and not follow it blindly contrary to how many people use their GPS. Imagine heading north on a highway and needing to get on an intersecting highway going west. Often it'll tell you to "take a left" onto the other highway forsaking the reality that you should veer right and take the cloverleaf exit. It will also give routes that don't exist. Again with the intersecting highways: imagine the two aren't connected where they intersect. Waze may go ahead and route you through an imaginary exit.

But know your route and Waze can be helpful and even a little fun.


What you should do is use the button to mark that as a bad turn. Then it will get flagged in the map editor, and anyone who's in there will see it and can fix the roads. In my local area, it's had drastic improvements in just the last month or so.

What's clever is that they also generate automated suggested corrections. Like a local intersection has a little cut-through side road to turn right. It isn't on any maps, but people obviously take it, so Waze noticed a lot of people driving off road there instead of the suggested route, and flagged it as a possible correction.

Waze just seems to me like so much smarter a solution to GPS than the traditional providers. They actually use the two-way features of the phone in a way that a traditional GPS system will not.


Using Google Maps I wish there was a "chatty" setting that would just say "you're doing fine" every minute or so on long freeway stretches. It's really not fun to hear "GPS signal lost" and not know how long you've been traveling without it tracking and whether you just missed the exit.

Also, in a strange town traveling down a road for the first time in a rental car at 40 mph I'd like to have another 2 or prompts about which direction I'm going to be heading so I can get in the correct lane.


Can you explain to me why you need a turn-by-turn navigation app when you know your route already?


I think the general issue is that most routes start or end at home on familiar roads. If the navigation software is getting those wrong, it makes me distrustful of how it will do on unfamiliar roads.


That right mockup view comes apparently from a screenshot of Nokia Maps 3D, even down to the old Nokia font and label Coloring:

http://maps.nokia.com/37.7976001,-122.3979938,17.42,195.29,7... (requires Plugin)

WebGL Version: http://maps.nokia.com/webgl/#|37.7976|-122.3979938|0|900|70|...


Can I choose to use google maps if I wish? Or is that against apples command?


Nothing stopping Google from publishing their own app in the App Store when this happens, much like how Bing has their own Maps app or Vimeo has an app even though YouTube is pre-installed on iOS.

In fact, that might even be better for Google. They've griped in the past about how Apple was slow to implement new features.

In particular, I know they hated the YouTube app (which Apple made). That's why the mobile site no longer redirects to the app - they wanted to be able to control the experience and iterate faster.

(I suspect the only reason Google hasn't terminated their agreement on the preinstalled apps already is because having YouTube and Google Maps on every single iOS device is worth more than fast integration of new features.)


Here's hoping I don't have to go back and change all my my UIMapView code.


As someone who uses public transit, I couldn't care less about turn by turn or voice nav. All I want from iOS 6 Maps.app is alternate transit routes. As much as I agree with Apple's move from a srratigic standpoint, as a user I'm worried about possible regressions.

I hope they choose to release it only for the iPad or iPod touch to gauge reaction before releasing it to iPhone users. I think the average usage of those products would allow a pretty Maps app that still needs fleshing out, whereas I need my phone maps app to be reliable over all else.


Coming from Android what I'm really missing — and was hoping to get out of the numerous geo related Apple acquisitions — is a proper competitor to Google's in-house navigation software. The GPS software integrated with iOS is an atrocity compared to what you get with Gingerbread(?) and higher.

Seeing that smartphones are increasingly replacing standalone consumer GPS solutions, I think its fair to say that Apple dropped the ball on this one. Maybe I'm jaded but who cares about 3D pictures when what I really want is a solution to get from A to B?


Can someone more knowledgable on the subject elaborate on how exactly this 3d works?


You take aerial imagery and laser-scan/photogrametric data. You can create rough 3D models from the aerial images already if they overlap enough. The laserscanning data and terrestrial photos can be used for more detail and accuracy. You could also use government data if your government provides geodata like coordinates, houses etc.

It is impressive but not really hard (theoretically).

Check out eg http://maps3d.svc.nokia.com/webgl/index.html


What's this laser scanning? Vector topographic data and aerial imagery is all that's necessary.


Theoretically just the aerial images would be enough if you have some control points. But I remember the Nokia people say they used mobile laserscan data. Can't find the source anymore though, I thought it was on HN actually.


Here's how Nokia did it: http://youtu.be/emKttWFcJ_g (simplistically)


Out-of-context excerpt: Technology behind Apple's new iPhone mapping system "based on de-classified missile target algorithms" developed by former "aerospace and defense company"

Linkbait-conspiracy-tech-blog-post in 3...2...1


Lot's of tech in any smartphone (not just Siri) comes from military offshoots.


Just so it's clear I want to point out that the current Maps app isn't a Google developed app. The only part that is Google is the map data and base map, everything else is Apple tech.


This kind of thing is inevitable.

"We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make. We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution." – Tim Cook on Apple's philosophy.

(full text here: http://destraynor.com/cook/)


Maybe Siri will now also start working in Canada. Seriously, what is holding Apple back. Is Google stalling that?


Apple acquired Placebase in 2009, Poly9 in 2010, and C3 Technologies in 2011. I cannot imagine not replacing a 3rd party product when a company buy 3 companies for the same product, particularly if the 3rd party product is owned by a competitor.


3D is a cool demo, but turn by turn is actually useful. Let's hope Apple at least matches what Google Maps can do before switching for the sake of taking a jab.


Cool! I've lost some love for google maps since they started showing the sponsored link as the first result. What was before a one search, one click activity is now one search, zoom to distinguish between the sponsored and real listing(often close by), then click. Pain!


I have been delayed by Google Maps mistakes several times, and I don't even use it often. The error rate is ridiculous. I would love for Apple to come up with a superior product.


I've found Google Maps to be great for spanning long distance but poor at navigating individual streets. I've been burned many times by landmarks and locations being no where near where it shows on the map (I live in India - your milage may vary).

That said, Google's been doing this for years and this is kind of the thing that they would be very good at (making sense out of a large corpus of data quickly). I'd be very surprised if Apple's new maps were as good out the door (let alone better).


This fits my experience as well--long distances are fine, but closer in it's unreliable. No doubt this is not an easy task and I have to agree that Apple faces an uphill fight here.


What happens to apps that use MapKit?


I imagine it would just keep on working exactly the same, except that the map tiles will look slightly different.


I think that is answered by the fact that Apple called it MapKit instead of GoogleMaps or something along those lines.


Will they provide an offline mode?


They would probably provide caching, which is what the current map application does. Hopefully they will let you pre-cache areas, such as you can do in Android, but I doubt it. Anyway, no point speculating too much.




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