Google Maps may be the default mapping software for most users irrespective of the platform of their choice, but that isn’t stopping Apple from pursuing its dreams of some day being able to offer a true competitor to what has become the world’s most popular digital maps for navigation and other purposes. In its quest to offer a more relevant product to consumers, Apple has now undertaken a massive overhaul of its mapping technology.
Apple says it has been working for the past four years on completely revamping its mapping software with its own data, and towards that end, has been sending its vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. The company, which positions itself as a champion of user-privacy, says it is taking utmost care to “protect your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication”.
According to TechCrunch, the new data will hit Apple Maps with the iOS 12 Beta starting next week, but it will only be limited to San Francisco and the Bay Area. A wider roll out, however, is only expected with the stable build of iOS 12, and will cover all of Northern California. The new Apple Maps will reportedly feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more.
The new features will eventually be rolled out throughout the US, but there seems to be no specific timeline for that at the moment. There’s also apparently no word on when the all-new Apple Maps will be rolled out globally.
What’s really interesting is that the new features, directions and corrections will all be switched on from the server-side, which means users won’t have to update their software. In fact, the report claims that the new features will work even on Maps downloaded back in 2012. They also will work on on Apple Watches and Macs.
When it was first released with iOS 6 in 2012, Apple Maps received criticisms from virtually all quarters for being inaccurate and less user-friendly than its Google counterpart. While a lot has changed since then, Apple Maps continues to languish in almost complete obscurity, with even iPhone users preferring Google Maps for the most part. Apple will be hoping that the impending update will change all that, and make the software more popular than ever before.