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Apple's map printing invention points to enhanced 'Maps' service

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
An Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday suggests the company may be looking to build out its mapping service, as the filing describes a printing function not currently supported by the iOS-only feature.

Map Printout
Source: USPTO


Apple's "Systems and methods for printing maps and directions" patent filing discusses a process of printing out on paper navigation and mapping assets stored on a computer or portable device. While identical systems have existed for some time, Apple's Maps app has yet to support the functionality.

The invention is largely self-explanatory, and calls for a device to print out directions based on a request to do so, laying out a map overview and distinct steps along the route for easier navigation. In one example, the map overview and listings are aligned in columns across a landscape printout.

Mobile devices, like Apple's iPhone, boast GPS positioning systems and software that can create routes and interactive maps, but the company notes these services may not always be available. In some cases, a physical printout that doesn't require a cellular or GPS connection may be needed, but existing methods are not user friendly.

From the filing's background:

"The resulting printout can include a listing of turns, a map overview, and notes that a user may have wished to include in the printout. Printouts provided by existing devices, however, are often cluttered or poorly laid out, and can be confusing. The pagination of many printouts often separate the graphical representation of the route from the list of turn-by-turn directions[?]"


In use, the invention prints out a route from a mapping app in a layout "optimized for directions" where the entire route and corresponding turn-by-turn instructions are readable. Such a layout could be a landscape-oriented paper with a first column shows a geographic overview, with a proposed route highlighted. Callouts arranged on the route are sequentially numbered and correspond with a second column of distinct steps which are represented as detailed map tiles.

Map Printout
Illustration of printout UI.


If the route is inordinately long, with too many directions to fit on one page, a plurality of pages can be printed out. However, the application points out that the first column of each page contains a map overview, while sequential callouts are listed in the second column.

Some embodiments allow for points of interest to be shown and described on the callout list. Information regarding each POI can be located in second column, while callouts are disposed on the route overview.

Map Printout
Illustration of points of interest.


The filing goes on to explain proper scaling techniques, transparencies and other details that would make the printout more user friendly than current solutions.

While fairly banal, the filing does include interesting notations regarding mapping services. For example, specifically stated in the application's language is support for Web-based mapping software. Currently, Apple's Maps app is not available online and can only be accessed by the dedicated iOS app included with the company's mobile devices.

It remains unclear if Apple is looking to bring its Maps assets to a wider audience, but the company may hold off on such expansion until the service's existing troubles are dealt with.

Apple's map printing patent application, which is related to a 2011 application, was filed for in 2012 and credits Bradford Moore, Christopher Blumenberg, Marcel Van Os, Albert Dul and Tiffany Jon as its inventors.
post #2 of 41
That'd be great, honestly, but some kind of street view should be priority.
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post #3 of 41
Apple? Print-outs? What kind of parallel universe is this?
post #4 of 41

This would make more sense if Apple Maps ran on desktops with printers.

 

The whole point of a handheld device is to carry it with interactive directions, instead of using a static paper map.

post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

This would make more sense if Apple Maps ran on desktops with printers.

Hence the mention on Web-based Maps.
Quote:
The whole point of a handheld device is to carry it with interactive directions, instead of using a static paper map.

Still, many people print out routes from Google before hopping in the car. Apple may be green, but that doesn't mean their customers are.
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post #6 of 41
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Originally Posted by l008com View Post


Nice footer on your website: "Sorry, We Do Not Work On Windows PCs"
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post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Hence the mention on Web-based Maps.

 

That would be very cool if Apple also had a web based map.  

 

For one thing, it would make it easier for people to do location corrections, such as Google Maps allowed.

post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That'd be great, honestly, but some kind of street view should be priority.

Street view, like fly over, is mostly a gimmic. Printing maps I would take priority.
post #9 of 41
It's time for Apple to seriously improve options for printing -- anything, not just maps -- from its iOS devices.

Hope iOS7 will get us there.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Street view, like fly over, is mostly a gimmic. Printing maps I would take priority.

Meanwhile, back in reality the world uses street view. And flyover is not street view.
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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

This would make more sense if Apple Maps ran on desktops with printers.

Or if iPhones and iPads could print...oh wait, they can!

post #12 of 41
They don't have to hold off on adding new features. It's really very technically impressive if you play with it, with all the 3D buildings and such. It's just that the mapping data that is not accurate enough, not that the programs or servers are bad. That is why I think Forstall leaving over it (if indeed that was a factor) was an overreaction.
post #13 of 41

Printing maps? Har, har, har. Nothing new here so move along. Printing maps has been around for years. Apple has lost its ability to innovate so it copies what others have already done! Gingerbread RULZ!

 

Sincerely,

 

Android Fan¡

post #14 of 41
I think the biggest thing that this patent points to is a web app, or iOSX app*.

* Just to clarify that I didn't mistype that... link to a previous post I made here on AI earlier.
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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

The whole point of a handheld device is to carry it with interactive directions, instead of using a static paper map.

And some folks choose to forfeit the interactive part because it burns up their battery and their monthly data.

If you don't have that problem don't use the option

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post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

They don't have to hold off on adding new features. It's really very technically impressive if you play with it, with all the 3D buildings and such. It's just that the mapping data that is not accurate enough, not that the programs or servers are bad. That is why I think Forstall leaving over it (if indeed that was a factor) was an overreaction.

It was A factor, not the only one. iOS 6 was a hot mess of issues that should not have been present, he was said to be a total ass that wouldn't play with others etc. His alleged refusal to take a PR hit for Maps might have been the final straw but that's all

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post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Street view, like fly over, is mostly a gimmic. Printing maps I would take priority.

 

Obviously it depends on the user.
 
Up here in the crowded Northeast, people often use street view to get an idea of what an unknown location is like. Is it residential or city high rises?  Street parking or garage parking?  What do the parking signs say?
 
Also, it's easy to get lost or delayed by missing an exit.  Especially for my wife when she goes somewhere new, I'll "pre-drive" the major intersections on the kitchen computer or iPad with her, so she knows ahead of time what to expect, from her driver's point of view.   I'm also able to tell her details like, "look for the diner on the corner", and show her what her destination building looks like.

Edited by KDarling - 4/25/13 at 6:55am
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

I think the biggest thing that this patent points to is a web app, or iOSX app*.

* Just to clarify that I didn't mistype that... link to a previous post I made here on AI earlier.

iOSx.... eh?


"By George, I think he's got it!" *


But, how would you pronounce it?

...eye-oh-ess-ex

...eye, oh-ess-ex

...eye-oh sex


I: Oooh, SEX!


"The French don't care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly."


* Rex Harrison ** playing Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.

** was known on the set as "Sexy Rexy"
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post #19 of 41
Doesn't iOS Maps already do this? I've printed out my directions once or twice and they look exactly like this. Very nicely laid out and clean. I feel like this is one of those things when the patent is granted after the product comes out.
post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

iOSx.... eh?


"By George, I think he's got it!" *


But, how would you pronounce it?

...eye-oh-ess-ex

...eye, oh-ess-ex

...eye-oh sex


I: Oooh, SEX!


"The French don't care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly."


* Rex Harrison ** playing Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.

** was known on the set as "Sexy Rexy"

Oh boy... but here goes: if it could be "better than"... for some of us old guys... then go with iOSeX 1smile.gif

I already described my vision of it as "slinky and sexy"... so why not? 1smoking.gif --- just "smokin' it" today!
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post #21 of 41
@DA - "my Fair Lady"...indeed! 1biggrin.gif
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post #22 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

The whole point of a handheld device is to carry it with interactive directions, instead of using a static paper map.

And some folks choose to forfeit the interactive part because it burns up their battery and their monthly data.

If you don't have that problem don't use the option


Also, who's to say that your mobile device always needs to be hand-held with a large (3.5 inch plus), interactive display?

There are some situations, such as hiking, where a paper map is is easier to carry, deploy, read and navigate -- and a mobile device, such as a watch phone) would provide GPS and contact with the outside world.
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post #23 of 41
Does anyone here really think that this is innovative enought to warrant a patent being issued?
post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

Does anyone here really think that this is innovative enought to warrant a patent being issued?

 

I don't think so. It's sad that "printing a map" qualifies for a patent. But then you have things like "hierarchical menu" which are patented, and enforceable. This was really the turn point that makes Apple patent every single thing.

post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

@DA - "my Fair Lady"...indeed! 1biggrin.gif

I read your linked iOSx post, and it got me thinking...

Apple, could, in fact, combine the 2 OSes into one -- and still keep them separate. There have been recent enhancements to the Xcode "packaging" capabilities that facilitate separate distros from a common code base.

Question: Why can't I (shouldn't I be able to) run any iOS app on the desktop? That includes Apple Maps! iOS apps already run on Oh, Sex via the Simulator. Make the Simulator transparent and open up the Mac to the iOS ecosystem... Good for users, Good for Developers, Good for Apple, Good for Shareholders... bad for the competition!

Going the other way is somewhat more difficult -- but doable for most apps.

For certain Oh-Sex apps you need larger controls, access to the file system and multiple windows (at least 2).

Again, XCode can help! Newer Xcode features like StoryBoarding facilitate multiple, different UI layout alternatives for iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini -- why not add Macs to that list?

What I envision is an iOSx app can utilize (and expose, if necessary) the File System -- whether it be on the device or the cloud, or both. There is no reason that a Mac couldn't/shouldn't be able to act as a local iCloud over WiFi or direct attachment.

So the net of all this -- iOSx would give you:
  1. exactly what you have now: two distinct operating environments -- if desired
  2. more ease of use to the Mac user ala LaunchPad -- if desired
  3. more power to the iDevice user (File System, iCloud, inter-app communication, etc.) -- if desired
  4. portability of data between Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired
  5. portability of apps between Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired
  6. advantages to Apple and Developers of maintaining a common code base for Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired
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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Printing maps? Har, har, har. Nothing new here so move along. Printing maps has been around for years. Apple has lost its ability to innovate so it copies what others have already done! Gingerbread RULZ!

Sincerely,

Android Fan¡


OMG!

How did you get Gingerbread? The Android smartphone I just bought has Froyo. How do I update?
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairb View Post

Does anyone here really think that this is innovative enought to warrant a patent being issued?

Yes! I think it is innovative enough to justify a patent!

If you step back a bit...

Imagine a map you create that includes just the things you want:
  • some POIs shown -- others not shown
  • user-provided custom annotations and images
  • some routes highlighted -- others deemphasized (or not shown)
  • some selected StreetView-type images
  • some selected 3D Flyover type images
  • highlighted milestones
  • disproportionate (to distance) map showing navigation & milestones (Apple has a patent on this)
  • printed paper and/or machine-readable output (with geocodes and POIs)
  • machine-readable barcodes on the map.

Now, Imagine this "map" in the hands of a motel-chain, restaurant chain, etc. developer/marketeer...
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post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post

I don't think so. It's sad that "printing a map" qualifies for a patent. But then you have things like "hierarchical menu" which are patented, and enforceable. This was really the turn point that makes Apple patent every single thing.

I suspect this is at least partially defensive as there is significant prior art.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yes! I think it is innovative enough to justify a patent!

If you step back a bit...

Imagine a map you create that includes just the things you want:
  • some POIs shown -- others not shown
  • user-provided custom annotations and images
  • some routes highlighted -- others deemphasized (or not shown)
  • some selected StreetView-type images
  • some selected 3D Flyover type images
  • highlighted milestones
  • disproportionate (to distance) map showing navigation & milestones (Apple has a patent on this)
  • printed paper and/or machine-readable output (with geocodes and POIs)
  • machine-readable barcodes on the map.

Now, Imagine this "map" in the hands of a motel-chain, restaurant chain, etc. developer/marketeer...


Many of the reasons that Apple Maps is so innovative.
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


Yes! I think it is innovative enough to justify a patent!

If you step back a bit...

Imagine a map you create that includes just the things you want:
  • some POIs shown -- others not shown
  • user-provided custom annotations and images
  • some routes highlighted -- others deemphasized (or not shown)
  • some selected StreetView-type images
  • some selected 3D Flyover type images
  • highlighted milestones
  • disproportionate (to distance) map showing navigation & milestones (Apple has a patent on this)
  • printed paper and/or machine-readable output (with geocodes and POIs)
  • machine-readable barcodes on the map.

Now, Imagine this "map" in the hands of a motel-chain, restaurant chain, etc. developer/marketeer...

I'm almost certain I'd seen a mobile-print solution for the Navigon (Garmin) navigation app. Other than printing a bar-code I think it would probably already includes the other features you mentioned. I'll see if I can check further on it.

 

It doesn't seem as tho Apple's patent would pass the obviousness test, but that's just my opinion. I can't imagine they'd ever try to assert it against a competitor and risk invalidation in any case. As MacBook Pro already mentioned it's likely filling a defensive role IMO.

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post #30 of 41
Quote:
Many of the reasons that Apple Maps is so innovative.


Yesterday, I was playing with the Google Map Engine Beta... It allows you to personalize/customize maps... to a degree.


My purpose was to graphically illustrate to my granddaughter what a typical afternoon of her driving and "hanging out" with her friends meant in mileage -- she reimburses her mom for gas. By a few adjustments, she could cut her mileage in half (and ease the pain to her wallet).


My point is that it was a very slow and painful experience using a web app (Google Maps Engine Beta) on a loaded 2012 iMac 27... I have been playing around with custom Apple maps apps on the iPad -- and it is a lot faster and easier on the iPad -- once the custom app is written (there is no equivalent Apple Maps Customization app on the iPad).

The Google Maps Engine Beta was good for dropping POI pins, less good for mapping routes (drawing line segments), and worthless for annotations!. I used preview to add annotations.


Now, Imagine Apple Maps running on a Mac (as well as an iDevice) with capability to:
  • drop multiple POI pins
  • automatically plot multiple routes between pins
  • annotate with lines, shapes, text, images etc.
  • automatically compute (and optionally display) distances
  • optionally display navigation instructions

I can see many uses for such an app, from: simple directions in a party invitation (mail or email); directions for a cross-country trip; a map for a yard sale; an overlay for an iDevice map where you could plot your progress on a trip -- say the iPad displays the map with overlay and gets periodic GPS updates from your iPhone...

Maybe not as good as Burma-Shave signs, "the wheels on the bus go round and round", "ninety-nine bottles of beer"... but it would give the kids something to do on a long trip...

Are we there, yet?
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post #31 of 41
Got back from two weeks in New Zealand last night. Used Apple map app on iPad to guide our rental car throughout the country, even the most remote parts. Turn-by-turn directions worked flawlessly. My only quibble is the search function, which seems not to consider your geo-location. I searched for a local American Express office while in Auckland and it placed the Danbury Connecticut office in the middle of Auckland! At other times searches for local locations, such as a MacDonalds, showed nothing, even though they are there. But turn-by-turn to an entered address or location worked great.
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post #32 of 41
I'd rather see Maps built as a Service into Search which opens up a view that then can connect with Print Panel and service extend to other applications, for OS X, than launching Safari just to use a Web based view. Keep it Cocoa.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I read your linked iOSx post, and it got me thinking...

Apple, could, in fact, combine the 2 OSes into one -- and still keep them separate. There have been recent enhancements to the Xcode "packaging" capabilities that facilitate separate distros from a common code base.

Question: Why can't I (shouldn't I be able to) run any iOS app on the desktop? That includes Apple Maps! iOS apps already run on Oh, Sex via the Simulator. Make the Simulator transparent and open up the Mac to the iOS ecosystem... Good for users, Good for Developers, Good for Apple, Good for Shareholders... bad for the competition!

Going the other way is somewhat more difficult -- but doable for most apps.

For certain Oh-Sex apps you need larger controls, access to the file system and multiple windows (at least 2).

Again, XCode can help! Newer Xcode features like StoryBoarding facilitate multiple, different UI layout alternatives for iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini -- why not add Macs to that list?

What I envision is an iOSx app can utilize (and expose, if necessary) the File System -- whether it be on the device or the cloud, or both. There is no reason that a Mac couldn't/shouldn't be able to act as a local iCloud over WiFi or direct attachment.

So the net of all this -- iOSx would give you:
  1. exactly what you have now: two distinct operating environments -- if desired
  2. more ease of use to the Mac user ala LaunchPad -- if desired
  3. more power to the iDevice user (File System, iCloud, inter-app communication, etc.) -- if desired
  4. portability of data between Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired
  5. portability of apps between Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired
  6. advantages to Apple and Developers of maintaining a common code base for Macs, iCloud, iDevices -- if desired

A full quote... because it is exactly what I'm thinking... and I do mean... EXACTLY!

In the Fall I got interested in dev'ing mini-Apps for my clients and got a dev account. I started reading everything I could get my hands on re: xCode. Of course we "all know" (don't we???) that iOS is an optimized subset of assorted OS X Core Services and what not and shares many libraries with OS X. At the same time the main discussions re: web apps was centering on responsive design vs. mobile first design. I decided to do a combination of the 2, going "mobile first" and then scaling to responsive for tablets and desktops.

That's where this "theory" started with iOSeX. Taking the already swift and able iOS, and adding features to it rather than building out OS X any further. This is what MS truly would "like to do"... but they can't. Too much legacy baggage... and just no "balls" to dump Windows... if even for a short period of time.

Apple on the other hand started "fresh"... getting people turned on to iOS... no sexy yet due to age restrictions!... "touch", "personal", and "intimate" devices and ways of using them. SJ and Apple trained us to accept the restrictions... only to give us time to learn and feel comfortable with this "new way of computing"... before taking us on the next step and actually being willing to give up the traditional desktop metaphor.

I mean really... how bloody freakin' brilliant is THAT!?! Any "new" features added to iOS are already basically programmed (OS X) and will be greeted by literally millions of users as "Wow! Look what I can do with my iPad and iPhone!". Very unlike our little ~ 10% Mac OS X user base in the past, where it was only the die-hard fans that took notice of little improvements or added capabilities.

This new "kitty" is gonna be everyone's favorite Pet... believe me! 1smile.gif

PS. I could run with the puns on this subject all da long.... OK.... I'll give it a rest now 1smile.gif
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post #34 of 41
As it pertains to maps:

Has anyone seen Scott Forstall around Apple? If I remember right, he was simply relieved of his executive position but was held as a consultant. Anyone?

I do ask because I wrote a few weeks ago that IMHO we haven't seen the last of Scott Forstall at Apple. Maybe not immediately, or even in the near future... but I do think "he'll be back" some day. Apple is in his DNA. SJ said so, good enough for me.
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post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'd rather see Maps built as a Service into Search which opens up a view that then can connect with Print Panel and service extend to other applications, for OS X, than launching Safari just to use a Web based view. Keep it Cocoa.

+++ I agree! Certainly better than a web-based app! And, when you think about maps -- it is the "poster child" of an OS service!
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 4/25/13 at 4:30pm
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post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

As it pertains to maps:

Has anyone seen Scott Forstall around Apple? If I remember right, he was simply relieved of his executive position but was held as a consultant. Anyone?

I do ask because I wrote a few weeks ago that IMHO we haven't seen the last of Scott Forstall at Apple. Maybe not immediately, or even in the near future... but I do think "he'll be back" some day. Apple is in his DNA. SJ said so, good enough for me.

That's a good question! @mdriftmeyer knows him personally -- so he might have an answer. AIR, Forstall had sold most of his AAPL (much better price than today) -- but had only been relieved of management duties -- not fired. Don't know if he voluntarily left Apple.

Apparently, like Steve Jobs, Scott did not "play well with others"... so it may have been necessary for Tim to consolidate his "power" and avoid conflicts.

That said, I always liked Scott and thought he represented Apple well -- outstanding poise and delivery (especially the humor) during presos.

Maybe both Scott and Tim have "learned" a few things...
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post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

As it pertains to maps:

Has anyone seen Scott Forstall around Apple? If I remember right, he was simply relieved of his executive position but was held as a consultant. Anyone?

I do ask because I wrote a few weeks ago that IMHO we haven't seen the last of Scott Forstall at Apple. Maybe not immediately, or even in the near future... but I do think "he'll be back" some day. Apple is in his DNA. SJ said so, good enough for me.

 

To be more precise, NeXT is in Scott's DNA and Apple is just NeXT 2.0. And yes, there is a deep history of returning more than once to NeXT/Apple Engineering for top talents who go off and create some start up and later return.
post #38 of 41
This sounds like the PodMaps patent/idea I remember hearing about much earlier (circa 2008-ish):

http://appleinsider.com/articles/08/02/14/apple_seeks_patent_on_podmaps_concept

Wonder if it's the same one? It's a good idea - pervasive data is one thing, but you can almost always suffer from bad latency - a pre-stored map route on your system would be as responsive as the GPS.
post #39 of 41
I wish they'd add the possibility to create waypoints and itineraries directly on iOS devices and Macs and add a feature allowing to retrace one's movements directly within the app, giving altimetry, distance and other useful stuff. I would have loved both of these features during a recent trip and I didn't want to use an app.
post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

This would make more sense if Apple Maps ran on desktops with printers.

The whole point of a handheld device is to carry it with interactive directions, instead of using a static paper map.
Well obviously, but it would simplify the less than 1% chance of your address being weird when entered so you enter backwards directions to it and print it,then send it to other devices.
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