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Apple hands off transit directions to third-party apps in iOS 6 Maps

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
Rather than include transit and walking directions natively in the new Maps application in iOS 6, Apple will instead highlight third-party options available on the iOS App Store.

The ability of third-party developers to create transit apps for iOS 6 was highlighted by Apple's iOS software chief Scott Forstall at Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. He noted that a new application programming interface for transit apps to interface with Maps is a part of iOS 6.

"When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers," Forstall told developers. "And so instead of trying to develop those ourselves, we are going to integrate and feature and promote your apps for transit right within the Maps app in iOS 6."

No further details on exactly how third-party applications will be discovered or promoted within iOS 6 Maps were provided. But release notes accompanying the first developer beta of iOS 6 describe how apps without their own map support have an easier way to launch the Maps application and display directions or points of interest.

"Apps that offer routing information, such as turn-by-turn navigation services, can now register as a routing app and make those services available to the entire system," the release notes explain.

Transit


"Registering as a routing app gives you more opportunities to get your app in front of users. Routing apps are not limited to just driving or walking directions. Routing apps can also include apps that provide directions for the user's favorite bicycle or hiking trail, for air routes, and for subway or other public transportation lines."

It goes on to say that Maps "knows about routing apps in the App Store," and will provide users with the option to download those applications for directions even if they are not already installed on that particular device.

The new APIs for routing and transit apps are a change from previous builds of iOS, which feature Google Maps data and services. Google's mapping solution features its own built-in directions for public transportation, biking, hiking and more.
post #2 of 78
The keyword is within the maps app.. It would've sucked it was a separate third party solution outside of the maps app.

I think that means the maps app will become a platform.
Edited by Wurm5150 - 6/13/12 at 6:58am
post #3 of 78

I'm pretty sure for my city, nothing is easier than bringing up Maps and having Google tell me which bus to get on and when it leaves. Luckily I don't ride the bus much so it doesn't matter but this definitely that will be missed. I don't want to download 3rd party maps for every new city I'm instead versus just bring up Google Maps. At least Google will have a separate app so I can use their maps when needed.

post #4 of 78

This is disappointing. I was always much more likely to use the walking directions with the phone

post #5 of 78

Apple has little choice—for now—but I very much hope this changes in future! Eventually maybe Apple can get transit deals in place.

 

What this means is that I’ll be relying on Google-made maps app for this and for Street View. (They have until the fall to release their own app, and I’m sure they intend to.) It will probably be a very good app. And some (not all!) cities will also have their own transit app as well... which may or may not be any good. And then there’s the option of using Google’s mobile map site for transit. We have many options to get through this transition.

 

That’s OK: I’ll get Apple’s new map features and I can still get transit directions too (even though my city has only 1 transit app and it’s poor).

 

OK. But FAR from ideal:

 

• Everything integrated into ONE app, the MAIN app with Apple ease-of-use, full integration with Safari location links, phone calls, etc., and all cities working the same as each other would be far better.

 

• I want to be able to toggle between driving myself and taking the train/bus. And I want to be able to plan routes that cross through two neighboring cities’ transit systems, which Google can do.

 

• Flyover would be great while on a bus, trying to orient yourself.

 

• Many people will never get around to installing a Google app or other 3rd-party transit apps. (And 3rd-party transit apps can be terrible. Will they integrate Siri as well as Apple does? Probably not.)

 

Oh, well... I’ll hang in there! I can use 2 maps app instead of 1 for a year or two if I must.

post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundvision View Post

I'm pretty sure for my city, nothing is easier than bringing up Maps and having Google tell me which bus to get on and when it leaves.

 

 

Not for me. Maps is always wrong typically because the base info is outdated and it lacks updates for rerouting for events etc. Plus half the time it lacks one or more lines in the area that could be used. the Metro has their own web app and it is always correct so I use that. 

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post #7 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

This is disappointing. I was always much more likely to use the walking directions with the phone

It does walking.  Scott was referring to mass transit.  Google's solution is about 90% wrong on Phoenix's mass transit schedule and is beyond worthless.  Individual developers have specific apps that are much better.

post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

This is disappointing. I was always much more likely to use the walking directions with the phone

If I understood it correctly, it means there's going to be transit, walking, hiking, etc. except its coming from 3rd party developers, and it will be integrated inside the maps app. I take that to mean there's going to be plenty of choices soon.
post #9 of 78

Hmm, interesting. I've really only used it in a few cities and that was sparingly. Looks like others agree with you that the data is often times wrong.

 

Maybe Apple went with the best solution after all.

post #10 of 78

By the way, I have iOS 6 installed and walking directions are still loaded within the app. It's when you hit the mass transit button it takes you to the app store.

post #11 of 78

I'm definitely apprehensive on this point. A lot of the bigger cities have quality third-party apps that may provide equivalent or enhanced functionality over Google Maps, but a lot of smaller locations have no real options outside of Google. Google's list of supported agencies is huge (http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/text.html) and more get added all the time…

post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


If I understood it correctly, it means there's going to be transit, walking, hiking, etc. except its coming from 3rd party developers, and it will be integrated inside the maps app. I take that to mean there's going to be plenty of choices soon.

 

I'm a TomTom iPhone user. I'd love it if they integrated with the iOS map API so they could take advantage of the crowd sourcing abilities with their existing traffic re-routing. And map update pushes from the crowd sourcing...

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post #13 of 78

One of the slides during the iOS 6 portion of the WWDC keynote noted a Maps API. I suspect that a third party application will be able to use the API to integrate the mapping functionality into their own app, as opposed to providing a mechanism to add-on functionality within the Apple Maps app itself.

 

All in all, I think this will be a much more powerful thing in the ecosystem and more akin to what Google offers with its maps. I suspect also that Apple will eventually take the most important stuff (like it has with turn-by-turn already) and incorporate it directly.

post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundvision View Post

I'm pretty sure for my city, nothing is easier than bringing up Maps and having Google tell me which bus to get on and when it leaves. Luckily I don't ride the bus much so it doesn't matter but this definitely that will be missed. I don't want to download 3rd party maps for every new city I'm instead versus just bring up Google Maps. At least Google will have a separate app so I can use their maps when needed.

 

I'm pretty sure that for my city, nothing is worse than bringing up Maps and having Google tell me how to get somewhere on public transportation. Even their driving directions suck much of the time. I'm better off just asking someone on the street for directions than depending on Google. Consequently, the directions available in Maps are often worthless, so switching to integration with 3rd-party apps like HopStop will be a huge improvement.

post #15 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

I think that means the maps app will become a platform.

Bingo! We have a winner!

I suspect an enterprising developer could even provide, dare we say it, a street level view app. Although iOS 6 Maps doesn't need a street level view.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 6/13/12 at 8:01am
post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberzombie View Post

 

I'm a TomTom iPhone user. I'd love it if they integrated with the iOS map API so they could take advantage of the crowd sourcing abilities with their existing traffic re-routing. And map update pushes from the crowd sourcing...

Voluntary or involuntary 'crowd sourcing'?

 

If the latter, there are clearly privacy issues. If the former, why should I trust the data without knowing what percentage of how big a 'crowd' is being 'sourced' from?

post #17 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Bingo! We have a winner!
I suspect an enterprising developer could even, dare we say it, a street level view app. Although iOS 6 Maps doesn't need a street level view.

This is actually extremely exciting. It means that now multiple sources (your local mass transit providers, an enterprising citizen, and entrepreneurial developer) can all provide the information which feeds into the Maps app, and the user can then pick and choose the one that provides the best info.

What this means is that I can theoretically use Google's transit information while in NYC, and Nokia Maps while in the middle of Europe.
post #18 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


Bingo! We have a winner!
I suspect an enterprising developer could even, dare we say it, a street level view app. Although iOS 6 Maps doesn't need a street level view.

3d fly-overs are cool but.....how are you gonna see inside of tunnels, buildings, caves, trails lined with trees etc using planes?

 

You gotta get someone with equipment to physically go and capture all that stuff. Like what google are doing with the street view backpack. 

 

Maps is no longer about roads. Its about cataloging the entire surface of the earth. I have no doubt apple will at some point make a competing product. 

 

EDIT: However, if Apple decides to waive their rule about competing apps on the marketplace and allow google maps, iOS WILL have access to street view anyway.

post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Voluntary or involuntary 'crowd sourcing'?

If the latter, there are clearly privacy issues. If the former, why should I trust the data without knowing what percentage of how big a 'crowd' is being 'sourced' from?

Technically voluntary, but essentially involuntary. When you switch on location services, it will ask you to agree to sending anonymous location info for diagnostics and usage patterns.

You agree to switch on location services, and if you disagree, "No Locations Services For You!" :-)
post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

If I understood it correctly, it means there's going to be transit, walking, hiking, etc. except its coming from 3rd party developers, and it will be integrated inside the maps app. I take that to mean there's going to be plenty of choices soon.

Walking directions doesn't provide the same option within Maps that is provided for public transit. In other words, the developers app isn't an option directly within the Maps app if the directions are for walking. The walking directions appear to have no awareness of walking or hiking trails whatsoever.

The likely proposed workflow by Apple is to ask Siri to "Open Hiker's Handbook" then use the app for directions, said app would use the embedded Maps functionality though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

One of the slides during the iOS 6 portion of the WWDC keynote noted a Maps API. I suspect that a third party application will be able to use the API to integrate the mapping functionality into their own app, as opposed to providing a mechanism to add-on functionality within the Apple Maps app itself.

All in all, I think this will be a much more powerful thing in the ecosystem and more akin to what Google offers with its maps. I suspect also that Apple will eventually take the most important stuff (like it has with turn-by-turn already) and incorporate it directly.

To be clear, although there aren't any options of which I am aware at the moment the public transit directions app selection appears to be embedded within Maps. For example, if I select the public transit option and choose my "from" and "to" locations, a "Routing Apps" view is displayed with the words "From the App Store" suggesting a list of options should appear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon1420 View Post

I'm definitely apprehensive on this point. A lot of the bigger cities have quality third-party apps that may provide equivalent or enhanced functionality over Google Maps, but a lot of smaller locations have no real options outside of Google. Google's list of supported agencies is huge (http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/text.html) and more get added all the time…

NextBus is a likely developer in my opinion. Otherwise, developers can quickly and easily create a solution in their local area. A small developer in Boise, Idaho could make a few dollars on a public transit app for Boise I should think.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 6/13/12 at 8:06am
post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

This is disappointing. I was always much more likely to use the walking directions with the phone


And if Apple built it into Maps, thereby putting the app developers out of business, they'd have been 'evil'.

A no-win for Apple.

post #22 of 78

and the wheels start to fall off... this is just another iADS and iBooks - once you see the details it shows it is half baked and hopefully fixed as it goes.

 

iOS: the dumbing down of Apple continues.

post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

and the wheels start to fall off... this is just another iADS and iBooks - once you see the details it shows it is half baked and hopefully fixed as it goes.

 

iOS: the dumbing down of Apple continues

To be fair, nobody would care if iADS went away because the consumer does not like ads in any way or form. they just want to get on with what they ere doing, whether it be watching a TV show, using a website, using an app, whatever.

 

Except for those direct TV ads, those are HILARIOUS. Don't sell your hair to a wig shop.

post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

The keyword is within the maps app.. It would've sucked it was a separate third party solution outside of the maps app.
I think that means the maps app will become a platform.

That is how I read it, too, and I see that as a potential win win. It is impossible to handle all walking, public transport, hiking, tourist routes, etc etc of every locality for Apple (or google). To have individual and often local developers take this on should offer more choices, better niche solutions and through competition, better choices. Maps as a platform with 'plug-ins' makes a lot of sense, to me. 

post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

This is actually extremely exciting. It means that now multiple sources (your local mass transit providers, an enterprising citizen, and entrepreneurial developer) can all provide the information which feeds into the Maps app, and the user can then pick and choose the one that provides the best info.
What this means is that I can theoretically use Google's transit information while in NYC, and Nokia Maps while in the middle of Europe.

Exactly! Anyone care to join me in a Kickstarter project for a street level view app? My concept is to simply have iPhone 4S users use their phone to capture 360 degree panoramic photographs then upload said photographs along with the GPS metadata. Based on all the apparent backlash about the current lack of street level views in a beta app we should be billionaires in about 3 minutes upon public release.
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

To be fair, nobody would care if iADS went away because the consumer does not like ads in any way or form. they just want to get on with what they ere doing, whether it be watching a TV show, using a website, using an app, whatever.

 

Except for those direct TV ads, those are HILARIOUS. Don't sell your hair to a wig shop.

Well, if there were no ads, how would you find out about 'new stuff'. There are many forms of ads but in essence advertising is just companies letting you know what they've got. I am not sure people hate ads per se, but they definitely hate intrusive ads that ruin another experience. 

 

The way I see it - to google something is to ask to be bombarded with adverts. Every link is an ad - a path to a product. Its a much better experience because to a large degree it is controlled by us, and therefore much more effective.

post #27 of 78

It's a bit offtopic, but is it possible that Apple is going to set up a Maps platform, which will also be available for Non-Apple or iOS-users? Because when I go to maps.apple.com, I'm being redirected to maps.google.com. So I was thinking: if they release iOS6 this fall, it's possible we will have an Apple Maps on the internet too...

post #28 of 78

This has the potential to be absolutely fantastic.

 

Personally, I think the Transit directions of Google Maps is fantastic and think it will take some beating, but here's the thing, I suspect an app will come out pretty quickly that simply replicates what Google have into the iOS Maps application, so in the worst case, we'll probably end up with something merely the same as what we have now.  However, by opening this space up to plenty of creative people, amazing could come along.

 

Just as a quick example, there is a trick in the UK whereby a train journey can be cheaper if you buy two tickets, one to get you half way to where you're going, then another to get you from there to where you are actually going (it's because of how the peak fare system works).  Now, someone has come up with an App to help people find those savings (http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets#app).  How much cooler would that be if properly integrated into the Maps application.

post #29 of 78

I can't believe people are worried about this.  There will be a Google Maps app, and you will be welcome to use it if you would like.  Apple cannot deny Google Maps, or they will be investigated again for anti-trust issues.  That is why we have a Google Voice app, a GMail app, a Google Latitude app, etc etc etc.  Apple already once got in hot water for denying apps that were competitors to their own products.  We now have an Amazon cloud music player app etc etc, we have all kinds of apps which "compete" with Apple products.

 

Stop freaking out, there WILL be a Google Maps app for iOS and if you don't like Apple's maps you can download the Google one and use it.

 

As a side note, for Portland, Oregon transit I highly recommend the app PDXBus:

 

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pdx-bus-max-streetcar-and-wes/id289814055?mt=8

post #30 of 78
I believe that one reason why Google and other platform owners try to do it all themselves is because they don't have the breath of apps we do. I've got a bunch of local apps for mass transit and walking. If Apple does this themselves, then how many of these apps will die off? A lot of them charge a nominal sum. But we all know that a so so solution that's free will usually trump a better solution that costs money.

Every time Apple adds something that a developer already does, even though most people are demanding that Apple do it (for free) there are those who villify Apple for it. Microsoft too.

So now we have the turn by turn ability as other platforms do. So what happens to allow the apps that do this but charge something? I use GPS Drive from MobileX. It's a great app that been upgrades many times since I first got it. I will continue using it though I'll try Apple's out. So will we see the large, and thriving, GPS driving app contingent die out? Will people be happy about that? Is Apple just doing this to fight the accusation that they're the only major platform not to have a free built in driving app?

So I think that having third parties being able to integrate into Apple's apps is a good thing. Hopefully, the API's will allow an integration that will work well and seamlessly. I have to assume, at this point, that it should. We'll see.
post #31 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by TDeprez View Post

It's a bit offtopic, but is it possible that Apple is going to set up a Maps platform, which will also be available for Non-Apple or iOS-users? Because when I go to maps.apple.com, I'm being redirected to maps.google.com. So I was thinking: if they release iOS6 this fall, it's possible we will have an Apple Maps on the internet too...

Non iOS users such as OS X users, sure. But why would they want to let non Apple customers use this? The entire point of their software is to draw people into Apple's business model where everything is so much more convenient, and easier. They would need to decide whether more people would come into Apple's camp than stay away because of it.
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


Non iOS users such as OS X users, sure. But why would they want to let non Apple customers use this? The entire point of their software is to draw people into Apple's business model where everything is so much more convenient, and easier. They would need to decide whether more people would come into Apple's camp than stay away because of it.

 

That's true. But why not password protected? So only available with an Apple ID? Like iCloud?

post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by TDeprez View Post

That's true. But why not password protected? So only available with an Apple ID? Like iCloud?

Exactly. I wouldn't imagine it would be accessible through anything but iCloud.com. Though I STILL don't see the point to a standalone map.

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post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I believe that one reason why Google and other platform owners try to do it all themselves is because they don't have the breath of apps we do.

So will we see the large, and thriving, GPS driving app contingent die out? Will people be happy about that? Is Apple just doing this to fight the accusation that they're the only major platform not to have a free built in driving app?

So I think that having third parties being able to integrate into Apple's apps is a good thing. Hopefully, the API's will allow an integration that will work well and seamlessly. I have to assume, at this point, that it should. We'll see.


Google tries to do everything themselves because the more "services" they provide to consumers, the larger their advertising platform becomes which increases their revenue.

Apple purchased several mapping companies to reduce dependency on Google and reduce Google's revenue of which approximately USD $500 m annually is derived from the use of Google services as the infrastructure of iOS Maps.
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I believe that one reason why Google and other platform owners try to do it all themselves is because they don't have the breath of apps we do. 

Google began subway routes/stops back in Feb/2007, the same time they added real-time traffic reporting. Walking directions were added in June of 2008. All of those preceded Apple's AppStore, and definitely intro'd before Google even had an app market. I don't believe those features for free from Google had anything to do with 3rd party mobile apps since there wasn't even an AppStore.

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post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post


Google tries to do everything themselves because the more "services" they provide to consumers, the larger their advertising platform becomes which increases their revenue. ...

 

Which is why all of Google's services, including search, have become mediocre. Google's desire to "take over the world" results in a lack of focus which leads to mediocrity, just as we've previously seen with Microsoft. Apple's strategy of building platforms and focusing on making those as good as possible has, as in the case of OS X and iOS, resulted in better products with better user experiences, and the gap between what Apple and Google offers will continue to widen, in Apple's favor.

post #37 of 78

"When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers,"

 

Yeah, I hear there's a really good, free one called Google Maps - maybe let Tim Cook know?

post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by redheadednomad View Post

"When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers,"

Yeah, I hear there's a really good, free one called Google Maps - maybe let Tim Cook know?

You should read the entire thread. Many posters are contesting the accuracy of Google services.
post #39 of 78

Sorry, if I have to go outside the Maps app to get alternative transit date, I have to say this is a fail.  I don't want to have to bounce around multiple apps trying to figure out the best way to get somewhere.  A specialized activity like hiking or bike trail riding, sure.  But walking and transit are integral for any urban consumer, and I shouldn't have to flick between Maps and one or more 3rd party apps (re-entering all the info multiple times!) to figure out how to get somewhere.

 

If the alternative (non-car) data is embeddable as layers within the Maps app, by downloading other 3rd party maps -- that might be OK for your usual locality (even then, you have to know which add-on apps to download - Caltrain, SamTrans, Muni, Bart, etc.), but it's not going to be very user friendly when visiting another city.  If I go to Boston, all the transit data is right there; I shouldn't have to go to the App Store and look for Boston transit apps to add into Maps.

 

EDIT: (And for those saying "but including transit and biking, etc. would be way too much data for Maps!", I say "Google's been doing it for years".  Once you've got the incredible complexity of maps, with all the streets [which have to be mapped as individual lanes, with every intersection detailed for appropriate access], buildings, parks, etc., it's actually very little more data to add in transit schedules!)
 


Edited by Sierrajeff - 6/13/12 at 10:07am
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

Sorry, even I have to say this is a fail.  I don't want to have to bounce around multiple apps trying to figure out the best way to get somewhere.  A specialized activity like hiking or bike trail riding, sure.  But walking and transit are integral for any urban consumer, and I shouldn't have to flick between Maps and a 3rd party app (re-entering all the info multiple times!) to figure out how to get somewhere.
 

 

I think you missed the part about how "easiest" != "best". That's an especially important distinction to keep in mind when discussing directions.

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