The release of iOS 8 will see an upgraded version of Apple’s much maligned Maps app, say sources briefed on the plans. Apple executives are using the new app to move forward on their previous promises that the iOS Maps app will finally live up to the “incredibly high standard” of Apple’s customers.
Apple dropped support for Google’s mapping database in late 2012 and released its in-house Maps app with iOS 6. While the new application added extravagant three-dimensional imagery and a smoother interface, the software was riddled with bugs, unreliable data, and lacked many of the critical mobile mapping features found in the Google Maps app.
The issues led to the ouster of long-time Apple employee Scott Forstall, who was in charge of the mapping app, and refused to apologize to Apple users for the app’s shortcomings. iOS engineering executive Richard Williamson was also let go due to his involvement in the app’s development.
Apple hasn’t been standing still on the app’s development, redesigning the interface to fit the style of iOS 7. However, while the interface was redesigned, there were no major under-the-hood improvements.
Apple is planning on using their acquisitions of such companies as BroadMap, Embark, and HopStop to upgrade the iOS Maps database to include enhanced data that is more reliable. The new application will include new data, such as new points of interest, and better labeling to make places such as airports, bus stops, train stations, and highways easier to find.
Apple will also add public transit directions. Currently, if you need to view transit directions, the Maps app will instruct you to load another mapping app, such as Google Maps, or MapQuest. Bu using data acquired by Apple’s various partnerships and acquisitions, transit information will be deeply integrated into the new Maps app.
Finally, Apple is also reported to be working on unique ways to integrate indoor mapping and enhanced car integration into future versions of iOS. 9to5Mac’s sources also report that Apple is working on an augmented reality function that uses the iPhone’s built-in compass to visually see nearby points of interest.