Three years after Apple launched its own iOS Maps app to replace Google as its iPhone and iPad map provider, the Cupertino company is readying its first major enhancements to the service. While Apple was known to be gearing up for the launch of a mass transit directions service this fall in a handful of cities, sources have revealed that it is also developing its first entirely in-house mapping database to reduce its reliance on TomTom, using a fleet of mysterious vans to take still photos of business storefronts to replace Yelp photos, and building a 3D Street View feature. Apple has been using the sensor-equipped vans in cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York since earlier this year, and, below, we detail how the vehicles are advancing Apple’s plans for the future of Maps…
Apple may be preparing a big update to its Maps application for iOS and OS X. San Francisco’s KPIX reported earlier today that a Dodge Caravan sporting an impressive array of cameras has been spotted roaming the area. The California DMV confirmed that the vehicle (seen in the photos above and below, via Claycord) was leased to Apple.
The CBS affiliate reached out to technology analyst Rob Enderle for his thoughts on what this might be. Enderle said that this van simply has too many cameras (a whopping twelve of them) to be a mapping car—though he failed to note that Google uses even more cameras on its own Street View cars.
The latest version of the search app now presents a bottom navigation bar (which can slide out of view) that presents a persistent Google button for searching for new information. The navigation bar also offers a button for quickly accessing recent search pages, something that feels similar to multitasking between apps on Android.
Also notable as part of the redesign is the optimization searching for photos has received. In the latest version of Google’s iOS app, image results now take on a full-screen, mosaic look for presenting larger results. The update also packs in deep Google Maps integration for location searches including support for Google Street View right in the app for iPhone users. You can read the full change log 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
Historypin, a user-generated map displaying historical data of nearby locations, is now available as an iOS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Created in partnership with Google by not-for-profit We Are What We Do, the app allows users to add their own historical photos by pinning them to a map, capturing historic moments as they happen, and creating replicas of historical images. The images are then shared with users requesting data for a specific location….
Historypin uses Google Maps and Street View technology to reveal the user-generated photos and data related to historical events that happened close to your current location. It does this by “overlaying them onto the live camera view”…essentially aiming to give you a live snapshot of what your surroundings looked like in the past.
Simply holding your phone up in the street will provide you with relevant nearby images. Selecting one of the images allows it to be overlaid onto the iPhone’s camera view. You can then fade between the image and your live shot for comparison, as well as pull up stories and data related to the image and your current location.
Full list of features and some shots of the app in action after the break…