The code behind Apple’s WWDC map has led to speculation that the company is preparing to release a web version of its MapKit framework, allowing users to embed an Apple Map view into a website, 9to5Mac reports. The map includes the pan and zoom features you’d expect from Apple’s MapKit, which is currently exclusive to iOS and Mac apps. With a built-in core of users already accustomed to Apple Maps on their devices and recent expansions in map research and development, the company’s entry into the web could pose the first serious challenge to Google Maps, which is now used nearly any time a map is required on a web site.
The new WWDC map is much more polished than would be warranted for a one-off project, with a well-formed framework that provides various customization options and access gated by a developer API key. The copyright claims indicate active development between 2015 and 2016, hinting that Apple could announce the new web MapKit API at WWDC 2016. But while the embedded maps could become a standalone feature or part of a larger full-fledged Maps web app to compete more robustly with Google Maps, there’s also the chance Apple is simply improving its own internal codebase with no intention to release the features publicly.