Apple rumors: sweet new 3D map feature coming to iOS6

Word on the Apple blogs today: in development for iOS 6, a maps application developed entirely in-house, to replace the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007. "The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch," reports, "But it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience." Sources tell 9to5Mac the new app "will blow your head off." MacRumors has more. (via AllThingsD)


  1. This doesn’t help me in the real world though.  I use the maps as maps, to find my way around, and having a representative image with the bare minimums present, corresponding to streets and other paths is much more useful than having an image of the place.  In navigating I would be concerned that there would be too much information in a 3d map, and that sorting the actual route on the screen would be worse rather than better.

    If they’re just doing it because it’s fun then that’s cool, but if the intention is that this is a serious feature, I don’t see that really being terribly valid.

    1. “more useful than having a, no doubt out of date, image of the place.”
      FTFY :)

    2. I agree.  I want a map to be clean and easy to quickly interpret.   3D images and real photos work against that in my mind.  If they can do it in a way that’s helpful, awesome.  But if it’s just, “hey, isn’t this pretty!” hopefully they include a way to disable it.

      And to concur with another comment, native turn-by-turn directions would be great . It’s be especially cool if Siri could do it and talk you through it.

      1. For people who are not used to two-dimensional representation of space, a regular old paper map is utterly meaningless. Interpreting it is a learned ability. This just requires learning a new way to read space.

        1. Generally though, we want to see the roads, not the buildings. This just seems like a nifty party trick that few people would ever use in real life.

          1. Since the era of GPS, yes, that’s how people navigate; by streets. But before that, people generally navigated by landmark buildings and didn’t know half the names of streets even in the city they lived in (actually they still probably don’t even if the machine tells you)

        2. This. I live in a big city and using 3d space and landmarks inside it would be infinitely more helpful than traditional 2D maps.

    3. Well, I don’t think anyone has suggested that their maps won’t have an option for the regular cartographic style. After all, Google’s Street View doesn’t preclude the use of their regular offering.

    4. Yeah, that apps on phones thing? Insane. If I want a computer, I’ll buy a computer. Who needs an app on a phone?

  2. I hope that “cleaner, faster, more reliable” applies to us slowpokes using an iPad 1, and not just for those with the latest hardware.

    1. I doubt it. :/ How else could Mac get us to shell out hundreds of dollars for the next iteration of their shiny gadgets?

  3. Android has had 3d for maybe a year now. It’s not distracting as implemented there.  You can pretty much ignore it if you don’t want it (and really, it is pretty much just a novelty)

    Will this update finally bring native turn-by-turn navigation to iOS too?

    1. I was gonna point this out as well but apparently it’s only worth reporting once the fanboys are discussing it being a potential feature sometime this year.

  4. would definitely help those who still get confused by GPS…i.e. those who give and follow directions by “turn left at that one building, then stop when u see…”  but its gotta be more amusing than google street view and the awesome stuff street view captures

  5. Apple consistantly makes decisions that drive me up the wall with their apps. I’ll give it a shot, but I’m skeptical about it being able to stand up to google maps.

  6. 1. Apple sees a program/innovation that works really well, like Google Maps or DropBox or eBooks
    2. Apple comes up with their own version
    3. Apple somehow comes up with a reason why their version is better for the “Apple User Experience” and slowly starts to make it impossible to use competing apps.
    4. Soon all you have is Apple apps on your iOs device
    5. Fanboys flame people who are jerks enough to point this out
    6. Profit

    1. You really need to be a long time Mac user to appreciate why Apple does what it does.  I would love it it Google made a version of Maps that was equal the the Android version, but I understand why Apple is forging ahead with their own mapping stuff: it’s too important to leave in the hands of others.  While third party apps are crucial to any computer/gaming device, history has shown us that Apple has to keep tight control of their OSes, and that includes the apps running on them.  Remember Excel, that Mac-only spreadsheet program?  Of course you do.  Slowly but surely, as it became more and more popular on Windows, the Mac version became less and less important.  There hasn’t been feature parity on Office for Mac in a decade.  How about Photoshop, the killer app on the Mac for all those years?  Same deal, the Windows became more important and the resources for the Mac version went out the window… for a while.  You can’t blame Adobe or Microsoft: they’re not a charity, and they go where the money is.  It’s not in Microsoft’s best interest that the Mac has the best version of  Office – not when they have a competing operating system.  The same thing probably would have happened if Apple let Google design the Maps app for iOS; someday it wouldn’t have been in the best interest of Google that the iOS version was just as good as the Android version, and they would let it wither.  I’m sure the ads would have been top notch, though.  Maybe they would treat the iOS version like the entire gaming industry treats the Mac.  They’ll write the app for Android, then port over a buggy slow-as-shit version for iOS.  Whee!  That’s the reason Apple had some of those weird rules on how apps are supposed to be designed – they don’t want a bunch of crappily ported apps running on their devices, draining the battery, forcing reboots and making the whole operating system look like crap.  The same goes for the Apple Stores and the App store.  People can’t remember the time when the Apple section of a store was a single barren shelf in the back of a Software, Etc.  Or two broken down Power Macs in a Wiz or CompUSA.

      While I wish there some differences in the way Apple did things, I understand why they don’t.  It’s like night and day, being a Mac user in the 1990s and an iOS user in the 2010s.

    2. 1. You may be aware that Apple isn’t the only software developer that does this.
      2. Google Maps, Dropbox, Kindle App, etc. will and do continue to thrive.
      3. Apple is very good at creating nice user experiences. Despite this, it is very rare that anything they create wipes out their competitors. Watson is the exception, not the rule.
      4. Apple’s going to need to get pretty busy then, I’d say Apple apps make up maybe 1% of the apps on my phone. Granted I have a shit ton of apps on my phone.
      5. Just pointing out the grass is the same color on either side of the fence.

  7. Interesting. As this is apple I’m assuming it’s not just some zoom in zoom out look at 3D Google Earth type thing. I’m thinking more along the lines of augmented reality, hold your phone up, it works out where you are, what direction you’re facing, what buildings you can see, then plots your route on the 3D model instead of the 2D map (much easier for many people to understand)

  8. The technology was developed by C3 technologies. Apple just bought that company. To report about it as “inhouse development” is not fully correct.

    The technology is also licensed to Nokia and marketed as Nokia Maps 3D.

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