The company is reportedly focusing less on cosmetic changes and more on the underlying infrastructure.
Introduced with iOS 6, Apple Maps had a disastrous start that tainted its reputation. Some even said that the company made a mistake replacing Google Maps with its nascent service. While it still doesn’t offer all the features that its rival does, Apple appears to be pulling up its socks and getting down to the business of revamping its mapping service.
A new report suggests that multiple senior executives are overseeing the project, with CEO Tim Cook keeping a keen eye on all of them. With iOS 7, released late last year, Apple made of its biggest user interface and user experience changes to date. While the new firmware did come with improvements for Maps, it didn’t quite bring the app up to the level that users would have expected. To this day, it’s missing crucial features such as public transit information and easily locatable points of interest, features that Google Maps has had for a long, long time. Apple needs to make serious data level changes to ensure that its able to rival, if not outperform, Google Maps.
HopStop and Embark are two of the mapping companies that Apple has acquired in the not so distant past. It certainly has the engineering talent on its hands, and that’s precisely what its expected to tap into. The new Apple Maps is expected to offer public transit directions, letting users map out best possible public transportation routes using trains, buses and the subway in major U.S. and international cities. Other improvements may include better points of interest and labels to mark important places such as airports, bus stops, train stations, highways, freeways etc easier to locate. Sources cited in the report claim that to make the streets more visible, Maps’ cartography design will also be slightly tweaked.
Whatever Apple is working on right now, as far as Maps is concerned, it won’t reveal anything publicly until WWDC 2014. The company’s annual developers conference is when new iOS iterations are unveiled, and iOS 8 won’t be shown off until then. WWDC usually takes place in the Summer.