Out of all the new features announced for the iOS 6 update during the WWDC keynote today, perhaps none other has been more highly anticipated –and necessary– than Maps. For years, iOS device owners have had to tolerate the ridicule slung at them by Android owners who have had features like turn-by-turn directions for years, but this fall, when iOS 6 is released, iPhone and iPad owners will get the coveted turn-by-turn directions they’ve longed for and a whole lot more.
Apple was quick to point out that its new mapping solution was built entirely from the ground up, which might explain why it has taken so long for it to arrive. The wait may have been worth it, though, as Maps offers not only turn-by-turn directions but a seriously impressive looking “fly-over” feature, real-time traffic information, real-time ETA and Siri integration. Here are some details on some of the more interesting aspects of the new Maps app:
- Flyover: Available in both 2D and 3D, flyover provides a bird’s-eye view of many large cities worldwide. The images come from aerial photography –not digital renderings– and have been captured with multiple cameras. As such, you can change the camera view on the fly when viewing a flyover.
- Siri integration: Since Siri can now open apps, getting where you need to go can be a truly hands-free operation. Tell Siri where you need to go, and the Maps app will be launched with your destination targeted. Siri also reads out the turn-by-turn directions. You can also ask Siri for gas station locations and the information will be layed over your route, indicating a gas station as you approach one.
- Real-time traffic data with ETA: Traffic view shows where incidents and slow traffic is in relation to your route. This information is based on a traffic service Apple is building, but will be fortified with crowd-sourced data to remain as accurate as possible. Users can drop “incident pins” which will influence the map for the area. ETA shows how close the destination is and calculates arrival time based on traffic data.
- App integration: Maps will use information from outside apps such as Yelp to provide at-a-glance information and ratings from withing the Maps app.
Maps will apparently function from the lock screen and, since Apple is partnering up with several auto manufacturers to provide a “Siri button” on the steering wheels of cars, navigating to a destination with an iDevice will ultimately be a truly hands-free affair. Something tells us the stand-alone GPS market might be taking a bit of a hit this fall.