Apple acquired three major mapping companies between ’09 and ’11, photorealistic 3D maps might be coming to iOS
iDevices have relied on Google’s flagship mapping application from the beginning – a great service, just not Apple branded. 9to5Mac reported yesterday that it has confirmation from a reliable source that iOS 6 will ditch Google Maps completely and go with a cleaner, faster and more reliable service of its own.
It’s clear that Apple has been itching to venture into the world of mapping, considering its purchase of three major mapping companies over the course of the past few years, starting with Placebase in 2009, Poly9 in 2010, and finally C3 Technologies in 2011.
C3 Technologies seems to be the most prominent of the three – its 3D mapping abilities are nothing short of stunning, complete with 3D-flythrough and realistic street view features.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball pointed out that this could possibly be a huge gamble for Apple, stating:
Regressions will not be acceptable. The purported whiz-bang 3D view stuff might be great, but users are going to have pitchforks and torches in hand if practical stuff like driving and walking directions are less accurate than they were with Google’s data.
A photorealistic 3D map service could provide a rich experience for navigation when combined with Siri, but at the same time, not everyone is going to want to talk to their phone whenever they need to pull up some directions. Google Maps does a great job at providing a wide range of navigational features as well as street and satellite views of a ton of different areas – that’s what everyone’s used to, it just works.
I think its unlikely that Apple will completely do away with the more basic, typical GPS-style features similar to what Google Maps provides. C3 Technologies’ 3D views are sure to raise some eyebrows if they are in fact present in iOS 6, but people need a more simplistic 2D view when navigating through traffic trying to reach their destination.