At its annual developers conference in San Francisco Apple took the wraps off its own mobile mapping service and improved the search capabilities of its Siri voice assistant, taking the fight into Google Inc’s domain.
Apple’s map service comes with three-dimensional images of cities called “Flyover” along with real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation.
The new Maps app, due out this fall with iOS 6, means the end of the Google Maps-powered app that iOS devices have used since 2007.
Apple’s break with Google means the iPhone maker can finally offer significant improvements to Maps on iOS instead of relying on a reluctant partner/competitor to bring new maps features to Apple devices.
Analysts say the Apple maps program could, over time, move iPhone and iPad users away from Google search and reduce revenues for the search giant.
The new maps are fully compatible with Siri, Apple’s voice controlled ‘personal assistant’. Siri can plan trips and will also answer questions en route, such as the location of the nearest petrol station.
While Apple is late to the game with turn-by-turn directions, Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said that Apple’s new service featured various nice touches, demonstrating Apple’s ability to take an experience offered by rivals and “go even further.”
Reports about an Apple 3D mapping solution first emerged in early May, when 9to5Mac reported that the next version of Apple’s mobile OS would include “a completely in-house maps application.” Later that month, BGR released a handful of grainy photos obtained from a “trusted source,” which purportedly show the new iOS 6 Maps app.