WWDC 2012 rumors are everywhere. Having developed its very own mapping solution, Apple is breaking apart from its reluctant partnership with Google over Google Maps.
Apple has just come out with a purely Apple-solution for map with iOS 6. Let’s call it iMap very informally till this fall, when Apple will launch it formally on all iOS devices. iMap feature offers users real-time traffic conditions, turn-by-turn navigation, Yelp integration, vector graphics, and 3D flyovers. So far Apple had been reluctantly relying on Google Maps powered apps.
The break from Google is a very significant one for iOS users as it means 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.
the new iMap feature offers many uses that are already offered by Google Maps for years now. Now both are competitors instead of collaborators and it means faster development in both sides in form of mapping apps.
Apple has announced that the new iMap feature will arrive on every iOS device except the very original and very old iPad. The feature would come along with iOS 6. The announcement was made by Apple during the keynote address at the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.
Besides offering the traditional features we already get to see in Google Maps, iMap offers some new things too. There is a notable visual redesign that uses vector-based graphics instead of bitmap images used in Google Maps initially. This makes it easier for iOS users to to pan across a map quickly, without having to wait for new map images to load every few seconds. Vector graphics came to Android users in 2010.
There is also a very helpful integrated real-time traffic information and turn-by-turn navigation into iMap. Before the launch of this feature, Apple did have a number of apps that offered turn-by-turn navigation, but having it all in one place is greatly more convenient.
iMap also offers local information for more than 100 million businesses worldwide along with integrated Yelp reviews. Yelp got integrated with Siri on the iPhone 4S first.
Then there is the new 3D flyover images that are going to be photo-realistic and available for major urban areas across the world. While’s Apple’s images are life-like but not really real, Google uses real images in its maps.
Following the announcement about iMap, shares in Dutch navigation company TomTom leaped more than 10%. TomTom has also announced that it had signed an agreement with Apple to provide maps and related information.
TomTom said, “There are three providers of digital maps in the world – Nokia, Google and TomTom – and three main providers of mobile phone operating systems – Windows, Android and Apple’s iOS. Windows uses Nokia maps, Android uses Google, and until yesterday iOS was also using Google. But now iOS is switching to TomTom.”