With the launch of a single app (and a new mobile device operation system), Apple has apparently managed to make portable and in-car navigation systems
all but obsolete
. Announced at this week’s Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference, Apple Maps promises to deliver unprecedented levels of routing advice.
As you’d expect, users get a choice of routes. There’s spoken turn-by-turn directions, too, and the Siri virtual assistant
can be used to enter a destination via voice. Along the way, you can ask for restaurants, gas stations, stores and other services, and even review Yelp business ratings.
There’s a birds-eye view of major world cities, too, so you can get an idea of how your destination relates to local landmarks. If you’re really navigation-impaired, you can drive a virtual route to your destination using three-dimensional graphics. In other words, you’ll have to try and get lost using Apple Maps, as long as you have a cell signal.
Apple Maps will give you real time traffic, too, complete with an updated estimated arrival time. When traffic will impede your progress, Apple Maps will give you the ability to route around any delays en route.
Apple Maps will require iOS 6, which in turn requires users to have an iPhone 4S or a second generation iPad. You can’t run Apple Maps (or iOS 6, if we understand correctly) on an iPhone 4 or an original iPad, so that may push some users currently on the fence to upgrade devices.
We haven’t tried Apple Maps yet, so we have a few questions ourselves. The current Google Maps app can leave you stranded if you loose a cell signal, and it isn’t always quick to refresh. When used on a regular basis, it can chew up a large percentage of your data plan, a concern for heavy users.
Will Apple Maps
address these shortcomings? Until we have a chance to use the app, the best we can say is, “we hope so.”