Apple announces homegrown mapping service for iPhone, iPad

The new mapping service, built from the ground up, will come with iOS 6.0, which is due this fall on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Apple on Monday announced that it was developing a new mapping service from the ground up, with the company doing the cartography by itself.

In addition to street maps, the new mapping service will show traffic status and provide information about businesses depending on location. The company has already integrated information about 100 million businesses in the mapping service, and is integrating Yelp for reviews and ratings.

The new service will be the default mapping feature in Apple's latest iOS 6.0 mobile operating system, which was announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple's iPad and iPhone use iOS, and iOS 6.0 will be released for devices in the fall, the company said. A beta of iOS 6.0 is being shipped to developers on Monday. The mobile OS will support iPhone 3GS or later, the second- and third-generation iPad, and the fourth-generation iPod touch.

The mapping service will also show turn-by-turn navigation, and anonymous, real-time, crowdsourced data from other iOS users will keep traffic information up-to-date. The estimated time of arrival for a specific route will be updated in real time based on the traffic information gathered, and the mapping service will be able to recommend a faster route to cut down travel time.

A feature called Flyover provides 3D models of buildings and maps. For example, the service will be able to provide a 3D overview of a whole route and users will be able to zoom in and pan in the imagery.

The integration of Apple's own mapping service inside iOS spells trouble for Google, whose mapping service was used on many iOS products. Google last week announced upgrades to its mobile mapping service, including the additions of 3D imaging, a flyover feature and offline viewing capabilities.

(Macworld staff contributed to this story.)

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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