If you were one of the inaugural Apple Maps users, and found yourself on the road to Rio when you were just trying to get to your local Supercuts, then you probably have reservations about the future of Apple Maps. The response to Apple’s failure has left many iPhone users irritated, and others outraged.
Not A Lost Cause?
But if you take a look at Apple’s track record for clean, aesthetically pleasing, and high-performing programs (iTunes, QuickTime, garage band, to name a few), then you may want to give Apple Maps a second chance. The team’s failure, according to many accounts, did not spring from laziness, but from trying to achieve too much in too little time. They did not intend to replicate Google Maps, but evolve it. Here is the history behind Apple Maps, and what’s in store for its future.
The Story Behind Apple Maps
Apple began its map project after Google made the Google Maps app exclusive to Android users. According to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, Apple wanted to take away Google’s ability to upload information (traffic updates, etc.) from iPhone users, and so they wasted no time launching Apple Maps.
As you know, problems followed. The graphics were poor, roads overlapped each other, and arrows led to non-existent locations. The software confused some locations, and misplaced others, ultimately falling short of Apple’s reputation for quality products. For the digital world, it was an apocalypse.
This is what Apple promised:
- A vector-based engine that changed views based on tilt and rotation of the iPhone or iPad.
- Spoken directions interlaid with real-time traffic updates.
- A dynamic shift of perspective while turning.
- Explanations for traffic, such as stalled vehicles or accidents, and options to reroute whenever the software discovers a faster route.
- Flyover mode, which responds to tilts in the iPhone or iPad.
- Map integration with Siri.
Future of Apple Maps
The future of Apple Maps involves perfecting each of these features. Other features will likely use crowdsourcing and map layers.
The need for social maps now exists, and is perhaps a priority. New models of car all contain center-consul navigation systems, with larger screens that the iPhone. And using the phone in the car could get you ticket. Apple already integrates Yelp! Reviews into the geography of its maps, allowing users to make quick decisions about places to get food and coffee. This will boost small business ecommerce as well as brick-and-mortar store sales.
Apple Maps will likely begin to crowdsource all of its information. Rather than employing thousands of people to find and upload relevant information like Google does, Apple will ask its loyal user base to report errors. Crowdsourced map corrections will likely be rewarded with credits to use at the iTunes store, small business ecommerce bonuses, or discounts on software licensing.
Another benefit of putting more of the mapping power into the users’ hands is the emersion of customized maps. Users will be able to create map layers specific for their social group, friends, or job. The custom map will lie on top of the default map like a second skin. The options that spring from this idea are nearly endless. UPS and delivery services can create custom maps for routes and locations. Map layers for vacations, sports teams, concert tours, and school projects will begin to merge with social media and show up on the options tab.
Also, the map layers will create opportunities for small business ecommerce. Third parties will be able to create custom map layers, which will likely sell for less than a dollar in the Apple store. Furthermore, these custom maps will be able to function alongside social media platforms, meaning that you can have real-time updates of where your friends are and what they are doing, 24/7.
Carlyle Phifer grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where he worked amateur photography and developed a love for ‘architectural fossils.’ The promise of small business ecommerce inspired him to start his own online wedding photography company, which now supports him and his wife in New Hampshire.