It has already been reported that Apple is intending to greatly improve the Maps app in iOS 10, following on from the last release, and new evidence has emerged which indicates that the corporation is working strongly on rivalling Google Maps. Reports have emanated which suggest that the consumer electronics giant has dispatched a fleet of vans armed with sensors to prowl the streets all over the world, capturing a wide variety of images, even at night.
Apple vans spotted
Apple vans are in fact being spotted with increasing regularity, with one Apple Insider reader providing an explicit image of such an Apple vehicle. This particular vehicle was apparently patrolling the highways outside of New York city in the early hours of the morning, with other similar vehicles having been located in Boston and the surrounding area.
It is typical for Apple to be reticent on any subject regarding its releases, but the corporation has officially acknowledged the Maps data program that it is running back in June last year. Indeed, this can be considered a relatively open process compared to many that go on at the consumer electronics giant, with Apple now providing a listing of locations where the vans are expected to appear in the immediate future.
Cameras, LiDAR, and high-sensitivity GPS, among other technology have been mounted on the vehicles, confirming that Apple is attempting to build up mapping software similar to that already established by Google. Analysts believe that the program will ultimately include both ground operations as well as environmental capture.
Google Street View rival
The huge effort that Apple is going to in this department suggests that the corporation will be planning to release an expansion similar to the existing Google Street View. Google has dominated this niche in the last few years, and has certainly build up a significant head start over its rival, but Apple is clearly intending to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Apple has not released any timeline regarding the revelation of this software, but it is possible that it could be unveiled as soon as this summer.
With Apple expected to reveal the next generation iOS 10 mobile operating system at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the ideal situation for the corporation would be if the new mapping software can be part of this software release at that time. It would certainly provide headline news for Apple at that engagement, and would be a real boon for people purchasing Apple products in the latter half of 2016.
The Apple Maps software has not been hugely successful for the corporation thus far, and it is notable that the embryonic existence of the software was particularly troubled. This is unusual for Apple, which is renowned for its ability to deliver intuitive and slick software packages, but the corporation is clearly going to significant lengths in order to rectify the situation.
Recently, iOS 9 finally added built-in transit directions to its homegrown mapping app; a long awaited function which has been available in Google Maps for many years. This signalled the intention of Apple to close the gap on Google, and it seems that this effort has intensified ahead of the release of iOS 10.
There is no doubt that iOS 10 will be a particularly important release for Apple, as 2016 will see the next generation iPhone 7 released in September. Consumers are expecting the California-based corporation to deliver something outstanding with the iPhone 7, as the new numeral attached to this device indicates that Apple will be undergoing a significant redesign of the smartphone.
Apple has already conceded openly that iPhone sales will decline in 2016, although its own predictions have frequently turned out to be inaccurate in this department. But clearly the market-leading consumer electronics company is facing major challenges, and this was underlined by the fact that Google exceeded its position as the world’s most valuable corporation recently.
With this in mind, Apple will be hoping to squeeze as much functionality as possible out of the iOS 10 operating system, and clearly a complete redesign of the Maps feature is a major step in this journey. Aside from this, Apple is expected to focus on to other specific aspects of the iOS 10 operating system for improvements ahead of its release later this year.
Firstly, it is generally expected that Siri will become an even more central part of iOS 10 than in previous versions. The personal assistant marketplace is becoming increasingly important, and it was reported as early as August last year that Apple is working internally on implementing new Siri functionality. New features may include the ability for the software to take phonecalls automatically for users, transcribing any resulting voice messages.
It has also been suggested that Apple may implement something similar to Google Now On Tap, but upping the ante with it significantly. This would potentially provide context-sensitive information to users based on whether web surfing, reading emails, sending texts, or any number of other activities are taking place.
3D Touch revolution
Aside from the improvements with Siri, Apple is also expected to implement much deeper 3D Touch integration this time out. The inclusion of 3D Touch in the iPhone 6S was a major highlight of the smartphone last year, but considering that the Software was still very much in its early development, there should be considerable improvement with 3D Touch in 2016.
Analysts have suggested that iOS 10 could address the functionality of the Settings menu, which can be awkward to navigate. Other features included in the operating system could also be made more intuitive, and it seems clear that Apple is intending to go down the route of utilizing 3D Touch more holistically in future smartphone releases. There has been a persistent rumour that Apple will eliminate the Home button completely from the iPhone in the near future, and naturally iOS 10 would need to play a major role in this process.
So there is a lot to look forward to with the next generation operating system, and based on reports from the roads of America, Apple is progressing rapidly.