Apple Unveils New Map App, Challenges Android

Posted on June 27, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.

Apple recently unveiled its new mapping technology for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices—a move that would rise to the growing challenge of Android-powered gadgets, as well as cater to the Chinese market.

During Apple’s week-long Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook revealed the tech giant’s software upgrade to the iOS 6 mobile operating system (OS) scheduled for release by the end of the year.

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 Mapping War

At the forefront of the iOS 6 is the new mapping technology for Apple. Simply called “Maps,” the custom-made software for the iOS gadgets will introduce additional features from the usual mapping data, such as 3D “flyovers,” turn-by-turn navigation through Siri, and live traffic reports.

Notably, Apple decided to boot out Google Maps among its devices, even though the iPhone has been sporting the mapping software since its first version in 2007.

Analysts believe that this is yet another front in the war between technology titans Apple and Google. In fact, “Maps” came out hot on the heels of Google’s announcement of creating its own 3D maps last week.

Moreover, the new software was also created to further reach out to China. Imbibing the features of a search engine, Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall said that users “can now do local search even in China.”

Furthermore, Senior Vice President of Software Craig Federighi said that Apple is “really improving our Chinese input method.” Additional features for the iOS 6 include improved dictionary, fonts, characters, and support for China’s search engine Baidu and Internet services in the country.

“Get your apps ready for China,” Federighi told the sea of developers who attend the WWDC.


‘Maps’ features

Forstall said that the new mapping system was made “from the ground up,” assimilating “hundreds of millions of business listings around the world.”

“We have been flying in helicopters and planes, building up a 3D model of these places,” added Forstall.

Among the top features of the “Maps” include:

  • Real-time traffic service, through the accumulation of anonymous reports of iOS users regarding car accidents, traffic jams, etc.;
  • Siri-guided directions, where Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant will guide users to their destinations; and
  • 3D maps, which include a “flyover” feature giving the users’ devices the ability to fly around major cities in the world.
Upgraded hardware, Facebook ties

During the WWDC, Apple also unveiled upgrades for their current line of notebook computers. The company also revealed that there will be more Facebook features used in the iOS 6.

Keeping their edge over Microsoft and other operating systems, slimmer and more powerful Macintosh laptops were unveiled during the conference.

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller said that the entire Macbook line will now sport “faster processors, graphics, memory, flash storage and USB 3 connectivity.”

The improved models of the MacBook Air costs $999, which is $100 less than the previous versions. The new MacBook Pro, which will now feature the “Retina” display on the iPad for a higher resolution screen, costs $2,199.

Additionally, the new Mac operating system called the “Mountain Lion” will be featured in the upgraded line of laptops.

Moreover, Apple is also integrating features of social networking giant Facebook, another one of Google’s rivals. The iOS 6 will allow users to show their friends what they “Like” in the iTunes shop.

Although speculations were high among netizens, there is no announcement for a new version of the iPhone this year.

Author Bio: Rod Tolentino is a musician and a marketing manager for Repair Labs. An industry-recognized specialist in iPhone and iPad accessories as well as iPad and iPhone repair.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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