Apple is updating its iOS Maps “often and significantly,” according to a new report. Flyover support was added to numerous cities in recent months, and other cities have seen flyover coverage and 3-D buildings expanded. Some city labels, satellite imagery in numerous countries, and location information have also been updated.
The map content was also recently updated in Japan, with toll road notifications, improved pronunciation during turn-by-turn navigation, updated icons and labels, and added 3-D buildings. Maps in China has a new coloring scheme, updated roads, re-prioritized locations, and a new character font for improved readability.
A full list of cities recently updated is included below. However, it’s notable that not all users might see the updates as of yet; for instance, Buffalo, NY supposedly now has flyover support, but the app doesn’t appear to show anything new. [via The Loop]
Apple is discussing integrating local data from Foursquare into its Maps application, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, Apple has talked to “a number of companies that collect local data” as the company works to improve Maps; iOS 6 Maps already includes local data from Yelp, but has been criticized for both errors and omissions in the point of interest data. Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue is said to be involved in the discussions.
Google has announced that Google Maps for iOS was downloaded more than 10 million times less than 48 hours after its release last Thursday. As became obvious from the App Store’s top downloads list, Google Maps became the top free app on iPhone only hours after its release, and continues to occupy the top spot as of this writing. Apple executives are said to be “seething,” as noted last week by Daring Fireball, due to both the immediate success of the well-reviewed mapping application and the troubled launch of iOS 6’s new Apple-developed Maps application, which reportedly led to the dismissals of two of the company’s software chiefs.
Australian police have cautioned iOS 6 Maps users after a number of motorists have become stranded within the country’s Murray-Sunset National Park — it’s become enough of a concern to issue a public warning regarding the mapping system. Travelers seeking the city of Mildura have ended up in the middle of the park, about 43 miles from the actual location of Mildura. Police note some of the travelers “have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception.” There’s no water supply within the park, and temperatures can reach 114 degrees. Police by noting that “[a]nyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified.”
Nokia’s HERE Maps application is now available for iOS. The mapping program was released today after being announced one week ago. HERE Maps is a HTML5-based application that features voice-guided walking navigation, live traffic view, public transport directions, search history, map sharing, and offline capabilities, as maps can be saved for offline viewing.
Maps for almost 200 countries are included at launch, with selected countries featuring community maps created and updated by users. HERE Maps is optimized for iPhone 5 and is available for free download at the App Store.
Google is putting the “finishing touches” on a new mapping app for the iPhone, according to The Wall Street Journal. Test versions have been distributed, but it’s still unknown as to when Google will submit the app to the iTunes Store for approval. Turn-by-turn navigation is expected to be included in the app. A recent report indicated that some sources doubt Apple will approve Google’s Maps app, a point that has been disputed by subsequent reports. regardless, phone and mapping rival Nokia may beat Google to the punch in releasing a high-profile alternative to iOS 6 Maps.
Apple’s iOS 6 Maps now feature turn-by-turn voice navigation for Australia, a feature that recently went live after being promised for October. Former Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall previously said the data needed to be “exceptional and qualified” before voice navigation went live, and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to rolling out properly vetted additions to the service. [via 9to5Mac]
Nokia has announced that it will be launching a new maps application for iOS under the HERE brand “in the coming weeks.” Based on HTML5, Nokia’s maps application will be a free download from the App Store and will feature voice-guided walking navigation, public transport directions, and offline capabilities. As The New York Times reports, Nokia hopes its mapping program can remain competitive by acquiring a larger user base, Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop said. With the future of a Google Maps iOS app still uncertain, Nokia looks to be the first to release a new high-profile mapping alternative to iOS 6 Maps.
Garmin has released major updates to both its Navigon and StreetPilot Onboard iOS apps adding the Public Transit and other navigation features announced last month for both apps as well as bringing Navigon’s Google Street View and Panorama View 3D features to StreetPilot Onboard users.
In addition, the latest versions of Navigon and StreetPilot Onboard now feature full support for the larger iPhone 5 screen and integration with the new iOS 6 Maps allowing users to select an address or point of interest in the Apple Maps app and then switch to Navigon or StreetPilot Onboard to navigate to the selected destination, including support for driving, walking and public transit directions, where available, with the optional Urban Guidance add-on. Garmin StreetPilot OnBoard and Navigon are available from the App Store in several region-specific versions, including Navigon North America ($50), Navigon Europe ($90), Garmin StreetPilot Onboard North America ($45) and Garmin StreetPilot Onboard Western Europe ($85). Urban Guidance is available as a one-time in-app purchase at a special price of $3 as a limited-time discount from the regular $5 price.
Apple’s response last week to criticism of iOS 6 Maps hasn’t slowed the flow of complaints and news about the troubled app. TechCrunch reports that Apple is now actively seeking to hire people who have worked on Google Maps. According to TechCrunch, many individuals are eager to accept, as Apple offers the chance to “build new product, instead of just doing ‘tedious updates’ on a largely complete platform.”
Meanwhile, the critiques continue. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told ZDNet Australia that he was “a little disappointed” with the app, but went on to mention that he’s not sure the problems “are that severe.” Also, a new Motorola ad has taken direct aim at Maps. As noted by Apple Insider, the ad compares a search for 315 E 15th in New York City on the Droid and the iPhone, with iOS 6 Maps showing an incorrect result.
Users hoping for an iOS return to Google Maps can look to a CNET report that a hacker has ported the app onto iOS 6. Ryan Petrich was able to get the iOS 5.1 version of Google Maps onto an iPhone 3GS running iOS 6. However, the as-yet-unavailable port is prone to crashing, and the phone must be jailbroken for the hack to work. Google has suggested that it’s working on a new app for iOS.
Garmin has announced two coming updates for its StreetPilot Onboard and Navigon series of iOS navigation apps that will add major new features including public transportation routing and improvements to pedestrian navigation. The new transit feature, known as Urban Guidance will be available as an optional $5 in-app purchase and will allow users to consider public transportation options such as trains, trams, busses and water taxis when calculating pedestrian routes. Users will be provided with walking directions to the most appropriate transit stop and can look up detailed information on which line to take and where to get off. The real colours of transportation lines will also be reflected within the app to help users correlated the in-app directions with the appropriate transit stops.
The updates will also include Last Mile Navigation, a new feature designed to allow users to more effectively continue their journey by foot after parking their vehicle. Users will be advised about parking locations near their destination where users can park their car, saving their location in the app, and then automatically switch into pedestrian mode for walking directions to their final destination. The app will also provide directions back to the car’s saved location for the return journey. In addition, Garmin has also announced that the Google Street View feature introduced to the Navigon app earlier this year will be introduced to its StreetPilot Onboard app for the iPhone, alone with Navigon’s optional Panorama View 3D terrain view. The new StreetPilot Onboard and Navigon app versions are expected to be available sometime this fall as free updates for existing users.
Navigon has released an update to its universal iOS navigation apps adding integrated support for Google Street view, custom routing and a new optional ‘Cockpit’ heads-up display feature. When planning a route with Navigon 2.1, users can now be shown a street-level view of their destination when starting a route, helping them to identify the specific location they should be looking for upon arrivel. The Google Street view integration provides an initial snapshot of the area that users can then expand to a full screen 360-degree view of the destination’s surrounding area; the Google Street view preview will also appear automatically shortly before arriving at the destination.
A new Navigon Cockpit feature has also been added as an optional $3 in-app purchase, allowing users to display relevant, real-time driving data on screen to see a snapshot of their driving habits. Data includes gForce, speed, horizontal and vertical position and an adjustable speed and altitude graph as well as a separate screen with compass and altitude information designed for off-road driving. The new version also adds support for manual route blocking to help users more effectively set their own custom routes. Users can view their route on a map and block certain sections simply by tapping on them, prompting the app to automatically calculate an alternative route to avoid the selected areas. Users can access the manual route blocking both when planning a route as well as during navigation.
Additional enhancements include Retina Display graphics for the third-generation iPad, an optimized map manager interface for downloading and deleting maps and improvements to start-up time and map rendering performance. The Navigon apps are available from the App Store in a variety of regional versions, including Navigon North America ($40), Navigon USA ($30), Navigon Canada ($35) and Navigon Europe ($85); a full list can be found on the Navigon AG App Store page. The North American Navigon apps and related in-app purchases are available at reduced pricing until July 16, 2012.
INRIX has updated its traffic information and monitoring app adding new Personalize Traffic Reports designed to assist users with their daily commute. Version 4.0 adds a new “Places” page that allows users to quickly see at a glance the fastest route between two locations, the exact estimated arrival time of the two top routes and the optimal time to leave. Users can now also specify their home and work locations in the free version to help track their normal daily commute; an in-app Premium upgrade allows additional locations to be added as well as unlimited viewing of traffic cameras. The map view has also been enhanced with new icons and an optimized layout to provide a more intuitive view of en route traffic, with colours depicting traffic flow and icons used to identify specific events impacting traffic that users can tap on for additional details; the map view also now automatically adjusts to the user’s route at regular intervals to help reduce the need to zoom in and out. In addition, users can now quickly share their estimated arrival time via text message or e-mail. INRIX Traffic is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Garmin has announced an update to its StreetPilot onDemand navigation app adding support for new social media capabilities. The new version will add integration with Wikipedia, Facebook and foursquare, allowing users to easily display locations from these networks on the map and check-in when arriving at a destination. Wikipedia icons will also appear on the map that can be tapped onto provide detailed information about interesting locations and landmarks nearby. The new version of the StreetPilot onDemand app will also add a variety of new voices and vehicle icons to choose from as well as visually refined 3D renderings of buildings for an improved map overview.
Garmin has also reduced the prices of all of its North American turn-by-turn navigation apps by $10 during Macworld (Jan 26-28), including StreetPilot OnBoard USA ($40), StreetPilot OnBoard North America ($50), StreetPilot onDemand (free, $20/year in-app subscription), Navigon USA ($40), Navigon North America ($50) and Navigon MyRegion ($20).