Having originally planned to add a new transit directions feature to Maps last year, only to pull the feature before WWDC 2014, Apple now hopes to launch its Transit service with iOS 9, according to sources. Apple currently plans to debut bus, subway, and train route navigation as the central upgrade to the Maps app in iOS 9 at WWDC, using a user interface similar to the one intended for last fall’s launch, as depicted in the screenshots above…
The Transit directions service would allow iPhone users to navigate mass transit via the official Apple Maps application for the first time since Apple removed Google as iOS’s official provider of map data. Sources said last year that the transit functionality for Maps includes larger icons for users to more quickly spot airports, subway stations, and train stations within the Maps app. In addition to the main functionality, there is also a trip planning feature for transit, and a new Transit view alongside the existing Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite/Flyover views.
Due to personnel issues, data inconsistencies, and coverage for only a small subset of Apple’s major markets, Apple decided to pull transit functionality from iOS 8 very late into development, sources indicate. The feature was apparently present in internal iOS 8 betas well into the summer of 2014, despite the lack of an announcement at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Since that time, however, Apple has refined the data, added new cities, and developed a new push notifications system that will notify users as new cities gain support.
In addition to refining its transit mapping service, Apple has also been making headway on its indoor mapping project. Apple intends to update iOS Maps to help users navigate major buildings, offices, and landmarks. While the feature may not go live this year, sources tell us that Apple is already mapping out its own offices in Cupertino. The company has let loose autonomous robots with iBeacon sensors, similar in size to iRobot’s Roomba vacuum cleaners, to collect data for its indoor mapping project. This comes in addition to its new van-based project to map out high-resolution street view footage.
Yesterday, we reported that iOS 9 will also include the new San Francisco font from the Apple Watch and potentially a new Home app to control HomeKit devices.