Technology

Apple Maps not sure where it’s going

Kirsten Robb /

During last week’s release of iOS 8 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, the world looked to Apple to see what upgrades and apps the tech giant had up its sleeve.

But among new messaging capabilities, system-wide search bars and a health app with a borrowed name from an Aussie startup, Apple’s Maps app didn’t get a look in.

Although the company is known for keeping its plans under wraps ahead of announcing them, TechCrunch reports Apple had been planning to release several improvements to the Maps app with the release of iOS 8, but those changes did not make it in time for the WWDC.

Citing unnamed sources, TechCrunch said it has been due to a personnel issue. “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time,” said the source.

“Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”

TechCrunch said key changes included enhanced and “more reliable” data; more points of interest and better labels to make certain locations like airports, highways and parks easier to find; a cleaner maps interface; and public transit directions. They also said the app planned to integrate augmented reality features further down the track, to give people images of what was nearby.

Apple has been competing with Google for years in the map arena, and as TechCrunch reports, Apple is after a slice of pie for good reason. Maps are the key to how many people use their smartphones and one way tech companies may potentially monetise their apps.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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