Did Apple drop Google Maps for good? Apple Maps now rolling out on iCloud.com

Apple-Maps-Find-My-iPhone-01

Apple appears to have finally dropped Google Maps from iCloud.com, replacing it with its own in-house maps almost two years after removing Google Maps from iOS and most of its other products. Apple started slowly rolling out the feature to its iCloud beta site for select users earlier this year before pulling it, but it now seems to have replaced Google for all users of iCloud.com’s Find My iPhone feature (pictured above). Read more

Apple launches new service allowing local businesses to get listed on Apple Maps, solicits indoor mapping partners

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Apple has launched a new web service called Maps Connect that allows small business owners to manage their listings on Apple Maps along with a tool for setting up indoor positioning in select areas. Companies can enter their own listings and verify via a phone call or email address.

The iBeacon-powered indoor mapping tool allows businesses to setup interior views of their businesses on Apple Maps to help guide users through their venues. This tool is currently limited only to locations that meet specific criteria, such as Wi-Fi throughout the building and at least 1 million visitors per year.

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Apple hints at Maps data-collection project taking place in New York

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Apple has for a long time hired engineers around the globe to contribute to making its Maps experience better. While positions for its team outside Cupertino usually consist of Maps Quality Analysts and Ground Truth managers that submit region specific corrections for Maps, a new job listing on Apple’s website hints at a “data-collection project” planned for New York. Read more

UK carrier reports increased Apple Maps usage as ComScore numbers show downward trend

Apple’s Maps app, introduced as part of iOS 6 in 2012, has had its fair share of technical issues and was the source of a PR crisis and the ejection of multiple long-time Apple executives. But two years later, if data from UK carrier EE is any indication, Apple Maps usage appears to be on an upward trend. Here’s the latest usage data for Apple Maps from the network:

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More on why public transit directions got lost in iOS 8 Apple Maps

Maps Transit

TechCrunch is out with a story today with details on why some of the mapping features originally scheduled for iOS 8 didn’t make the cut at Apple’s WWDC keynote last week. The report quotes a few sources close to the mapping teams that say most of the improvements originally planned for iOS 8 weren’t finished on time due to talent departures and internal politics:

Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”… It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.

We reported leading up to WWDC that the transit directions in iOS 8 might be pushed back to instead focus on other priorities.

While the TechCrunch report doesn’t mention any names, we do know that the mapping team has lost a few key people recently. Back in March, reports popped up that Cathy Edwards, who happened to be in charge of Maps Quality after joining Apple through the company’s acquisition of Chomp, was leaving the company. The reason behind Cathy’s departure was unknown at the time, but we’ve learned from sources that disagreements with employees on the Maps team working under Edwards and an opposition to her management style lead to problems on the Maps team and ultimately her leaving in April. Apple also lost key Maps team member Jared Waldman from Placebase who worked as Head of Geo at Apple Maps until late last year. In addition, we’ve heard from former employees of the mapping team that recently left the company due to issues with Edwards and management of the Maps team.  Read more

Will CarPlay impact your next car purchase? [Poll]

After Mark uncovered it last April and Apple announced it last June, this week we’ve seen a steady stream of details about Apple’s iOS and car integration following Apple’s marketing push. There’s plenty more coverage on the way as we continue to explore what CarPlay means for Apple and its users, but now we want to hear from you. What effect will CarPlay have on your next car purchase?

Cars certainly aren’t purchases you make impulsively (or often), and CarPlay seems to address that by relying on the iPhone (something we may purchase impulsively and often) for much of the functionality. Among other things, will CarPlay be on the list of things you look for in your next car purchase? Read more

Apple explores customizable layers for future Apple Maps app – new patent application

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We’re pretty selective in the Apple patent applications we cover here, simply because Apple patents all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons, and for every one of them that makes it into an Apple product, there are hundreds of others that never will. But this is one we think might.

The core concept is nothing new: layered maps. The existing Apple Maps app already allows us to choose between standard mapping, satellite view or both, and Google Maps on the web allows us to switch on or off layers like traffic, weather, public transit lines and so on. But what the Apple patent application describes would, if you’ll excuse the pun, take this idea to a whole new level …  Read more

How-To: Start using Maps in OS X Mavericks

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Apple has finally implemented a maps app in the OS X platform, and it seems to have been worth the wait. After being noticeably missing from the system, Maps (and iBooks) are helping achieve a greater consistency between the iOS and OS X platforms. After running the free Mavericks update, the Maps app icon will automatically be added to your dock.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use the new app for everything from searching for locations to getting turn-by-turn directions set directly to your iPhone.

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Google Maps left out in the cold as most iPhone users stick with Apple Maps

Photo: bgr.com

Photo: bgr.com

Apple Maps may not have had the best of starts, but data from ComScore shows that most iPhone users have stuck with the app rather than reinstalling Google Maps. Google Maps lost 23M iPhone users in the US alone in the last year, with similar numbers expected elsewhere.

The figures show that in September this year, 35M iPhone owners used Apple Maps, against just 6M for Google Maps – the latter including around 2M who were using older versions of iOS unable to run Apple Maps.

The story is essentially a simple one: while techier iOS users may choose their own apps, the majority of iPhone owners use the apps that Apple provides. And if you apply that to other services, that may not bode well for technologies like Pandora …  Read more

Maps roundup: Early Placebase founder leaves for startup, Alaska airport directions disabled, & secret project job listing

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A few Apple map related stories have popped up today starting with the departure of early Placebase founder– the mapping company Apple bought back in 2009–  Jaron Waldman. After Apple bought Placebase, Waldman started and lead the Apple Geo team behind the Apple Maps infrastructure and location services on iOS and Mac like MapKit and CoreLocation. He was at Apple up until last month and even filed for numerous Apple mapping patents, but recently left to work at a “new startup” according sources and verified by his LinkedIn page.

As Waldman is on his way out, the Apple Maps team today posted a job listing (via Macrumors) seeking a web UI designer to “design, develop, and maintain complex front-end code for a new secret project.” Unfortunately we don’t get many hints at what the project would consist of, but the job listing adds that the successful applicant would join “a small team working on an advanced web platform upon which many of Apple’s future services will be based.” It is almost like Apple knows the listing will get lots of publicity if it adds ‘secret project’ therefore attracting a wider audience of potential candidates.

Finally, over a year into Apple’s Maps launch, Apple is still getting press for some hiccups it is yet to work out. A couple days ago news broke that Apple’s Maps app was directing drivers in Alaska down a dangerous route across a Fairbanks International Airport runway and taxiway. It’s certainly not the first time that Apple’s Maps app has given dangerous directions to drivers (those lacking common sense anyway) since its controversial launch, and today airport officials confirmed that Apple has disabled directions to the airport until it fixes the directions: Read more

iPhone’s M7 motion processor to integrate with Maps as Apple develops indoor mapping, public transit

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Besides the main 64-bit A7 processor in the new iPhone 5s, Apple has included a dedicated motion co-processor called the M7. The chip powers many of the sensor technologies in the iPhone, such as the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope in order to move the weight off of those technologies from the phone’s main chip. This, in turn, will make the new iPhone more efficient for both performance and battery life for the user.

Apple briefly explained some of the consumer-facing abilities of the M7 motion chip, highlighting that the chip could greatly enhance fitness apps such as those from Nike. But, just like with the new iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, Apple’s ambitions for the M7 are greater than those discussed earlier this week. According to a source with knowledge of the chip’s development, Apple plans to tightly integrate the chip with its own Maps service in the coming years.

On its official website, Apple presents a brief teaser of what the M7 can do, highlighting a feature in the iPhone 5s (which was not discussed during the keynote presentation):

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