Apple’s brave move to replace Google Maps with its own Maps app in iOS 6 backfired miserably and forced the company to issue an apology to its customers. But it has been almost 3 years since the launch of Apple Maps, and the company is yet to roll out any major new features or improvements for it.
In the meantime, Google has taken the lead by launching the Google Maps app for the iPhone, and has been improving it with major and minor updates.
Though Apple has been improving its mapping data, and adding new locations to the 3D Flyover feature, it trails Google Maps in every respect, from locating, to discovery, to navigation. We really hope that the Maps app gets a lot more attention in iOS 9.
Here are some of the new features and improvements we would like to see in the Maps app in iOS 9:
- Public transport in Maps – There were rumors that iOS 8 would include support for public transit directions and other improvements, but it reportedly got delayed due to planning, project management and internal politics issues.
- Offline maps – the Maps app currently needs an internet connection. Offline maps would allow you to use the Maps app in places such as a basement car park or in an area where there is poor or no network coverage.
- Street view – mystery Apple vehicles have sparked off speculations that the company will add a Google Maps-like Street view feature to its Maps app.
- Speed alerts – the ability to enable voice alerts when you exceed the speed limits.
- Indoor maps – e.g. shopping malls
- Dynamic re-routing – if Apple Maps identifies an incident along our route, it should give us an early warning with an option to select a faster route.
- Wider country support – add features such as turn-by-turn navigation, Traffic, local search, business reviews and photos in a lot more countries.
- Improved point of interest database
- Reliable turn-by-turn directions
Since you can’t change the default Maps app in iOS, these new features and improvements will go a long way to improving the user experience on the iPhone. Though it is not the point of discussion for this article, I think Apple needs to seriously look at the practice of releasing updates for built-in apps only with a platform software update. It should be more flexible, and release updates for built-in apps via the App Store.
How do you want Apple to change the Maps app in iOS 9? Let me know in the comments below.