California: Even for the ardent Apple fans out there, the go to navigation app has been Google Maps. If there’s an app where Google has been ahead of by clear margin then it’s Maps. However, it looks like Apple is finally ready to give Google a run for its money when it comes to Maps. At WWDC 2019, the Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled iOS 13 – the software that powers the iPhone – and with it showcased Maps in a new avatar.
Apple Maps is set to get more details as Craig Federeghi, SVP of software engineering at Apple revealed how data gathering to improve the Maps has been done. According to Federeghi, the teams at Apple covered close to 4 million miles to get accurate data. Apple Maps will look far more detailed as it will data about public places like beaches, parks among others. The app will also get a revamped Favourites feature which users can customise according to their preferences.
Apple is also incorporating a new Lookaround feature in the Maps that will give users street-eye view of a particular area, the feature is very similar to Google’s Street View. A binoculars icon will be there in the Maps app where users can tap to get closer view of areas they want to see.
To recall, Apple had launched Maps back in 2012 but faced more than a few issues. In fact, Apple CEO had written an open letter on Apple’s official website and apologised over the issues. This was back in 2012 and the early days of Apple Maps. Since then lot has changed and over the years Google took over as the default and top navigation app for smartphones. Apple with iOS 13 wants to bring Maps back in the reckoning.
The new features in the Apple Maps will first come to the US by the end of this year. Later, it is expected to reach a few other global markets as well. However, Apple didn’t reveal which countries will be getting the new Maps feature, so we can’t say when India can expect to see it. It’s still early days for Apple Maps and we will have to see whether it packs in a punch to knock Google off from the road and become a powerful rival when it comes to navigation.
(The writer is attending WWDC 2019 in San Jose, California on the official invite of Apple)