Nobody likes Apple Maps. Its ok, you can admit it: you are among friends here. Even the most die-hard Apple [iPhone] fans lament that this is one of the least impressive features of the proprietary, flagship device.
And you should admit it: scream it loudly! Because it seems that Apple is paying attention and working hard to improve the application. In fact, their extremely high aim to unseat Google Maps as the preferred mobile mapping-and-navigation application is lofty not only in theory but also in practice.
It appears that Apple is assembling a team to capture global mapping data using drones to supplement their camera-equipped minivans. It is also possible that they could use UAVs from companies like Aibotix and DJI to keep their maps up-to-date with constant real-time new road and construction updates. Now that Apple Maps has started to regain some love across the mobile-using population Apple wants to improve so the apps quality is undeniably better than that of Google Maps. Quite the goal, indeed, but if anyone can do it, its Apple.
And Apple is also looking to improve its car and indoor navigation. Of course, that second part is not too big a surprise if you recall that Apple very recently bought indoor tracking company Indoor.io (just last year) as well as WiFiSlam in 2013. And then, if you are an Apple fan, you might also remember that the company released the “Indoor Survey” application not too long ago: an app that lets you figure out your specific location within an indoor venue, even if that venue has not been specifically mapped.
Reportedly, Apple’s new drone maps team is currently in assembly process, in Seattle, and may be in the charge of someone Apple hired out of Amazon’s Prime Air division. What we do know, however, is that Apple had, in fact, applied for FAA permits last year for the purpose of flying commercial drones to “conduct data collection, photography, and videography.”
One distinguishing factor between Apple Maps and Google Maps is that the former does not use the service to sell ads the way the latter does. Still Apple is improving its efforts to incorporate transit data as well as third-party extensions like OpenTable, Uber, and Lyft. Accordingly, it has been reported that Apple maps is now used three times more often than Google Maps on iOS devices. With the new changes in place, perhaps Apple can gain more ground.