With the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS now among us, Google SVP of Commerce Jeff Huber shared some interesting download numbers this afternoon. In just 48 hours, Huber said that a whopping 10 million users downloaded the Apple Maps alternative from the iTunes App Store. Also, as the app climbs up the charts to the top free app, the number of downloads is likely rising quick. Google Maps for iOS was well received, garnering positive reviews and ratings, with even Google admitting that its iPhone version of Maps is better than its Android version. Additionally, things look to get even better: Google shared last week that iPad support and offline mode are launching soon.
After Apple moved to its own mapping solution on iOS, the rumors of Google bringing a standalone Maps app to the platform have intensified. The Wall Street Journal reported that the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS may be here soon, with word that the app has entered its final testing stages and will include turn-by-turn navigation.
The WSJ wasn’t able to give specific time frame for the app’s launch, but the report added that the app has been distributed to a few members outside the bounds of Mountain View for testing before it is submitted to the iTunes App Store review team. The launch sounds like sooner than later, as several publications in the recent months have pegged the launch before the end of the year. The question is: will Apple accept it?
Google won’t be alone in the iOS Maps-alternative battleground, however. Nokia announced yesterday it plans to release its own iOS map solution under the “Here” brand. Nokia said it plans to make the app available on the iTunes App Store in the coming weeks, offering offline maps, voice-guided navigation, and information on public transport.
While a native Google Maps iOS app has yet to hit the App Store, Nokia said today it plans to release a new free maps for iOS under the “Here” brand in the coming weeks. “Here” is a cross platform effort for mapping applications that the company described as “the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.”
San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere… To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand.
The new HTML5-based iOS app, also called “Here”, will arrive in the App Store in the coming weeks and feature “offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions.” Read more
Xbox SmartGlass: Microsoft updated its My Xbox LIVE app for iPhone and iPad last night, renaming the app “Xbox SmartGlass” and introducing a number of new features. The app now works as the full fledged second screen “SmartGlass” experience for Xbox that Microsoft originally unveiled for Windows 8 devices.
Xbox SmartGlass lets you:
• Navigate your Xbox 360 with swipe and tap
• Use your phone’s keyboard to type to your Xbox 360
• Browse the Internet on your Xbox 360 with full keyboard and zooming
• Play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and stop videos and music on your Xbox 360
• Search the full Xbox catalog of music, video, and games
• Enjoy rich, interactive experiences from select game and entertainment content creators
• Track and compare your achievements with your Xbox friends
• Change up your 3D avatar
• Message your Xbox friends
• Edit your Xbox profile
Sparkling Maps version 1.1: Apple has decided to accept an update to Sparkling Maps that brings “vastly improved turn by turn navigation” and “better StreetView” powered by Google data. According to its developers,”This is now the first available app on Apple devices that offers streetview and turn by turn navigation on google maps data.”
Curiosity – what’s inside the cube: Developer of the Fable series Peter Molyneux is out with an interesting cross-platform title that is also now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. The game consists of users tapping away at a giant cube made up of billions of smaller cubes. Nobody knows what’s inside (unsold copies of Fable?), but users will work together across platforms to find out the mystery inside of the cube.
Deep in the centre of the cube is something life-changingly amazing, but only the first person to reach the centre will discover what’s inside.
Tweetbot for Mac version 1.0.1: The Tweetbot Mac App Store app was just updated with a ton of new features, fixes, and improvements. Included in the update is support for “Reading list as a Read Later service” on 10.8 and up, the ability to disable Streaming from within preferences, as well as better keyboard support in “people searcher”. You can also now navigate the timeline using the jk keys. A full list of what’s new is below: Read more
As predicted yesterday, Google’s Street View is now available on Mobile Safari and Chrome on iOS devices. Having a quick look around, the service is very fluid, especially for a web page, and the quality is superb with graphics that really look solid on a Retina display.
Perhaps Apple should make a “pop-out” service that lets you open a Street View web page from within the new iOS Maps.app? Read more
All of which may just make this app the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.
All in a beautiful vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease.
One of our readers predicted the call, below: Read more