Even Apple (AAPL) is tired of Apple Maps looking lost, so it’s now rebuilding that app’s cartographical foundation—one street and one crowdsourced data point at a time.
The Cupertino, California, company revealed the existence of this Apple Maps reboot, now four years in, in a report by TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino. By gathering information from mapping vehicles and anonymized snippets of route data from individual iPhones, Apple aims to provide users with a more comprehensive, current guide to the world—beginning this fall for iOS 12 users across northern California.
That would be a decent start to redeeming Apple Maps from a legacy of errant routing. But if Apple wants to overcome the enormous lead of Google (GOOG, GOOGL), more accurate lines and dots can only be the start.
Transit navigation in more places
Six years after Apple Maps launched without public transit information, it matches Google feature-for-feature in major cities like New York and Washington—it tells you which exit to take out of a subway station and even knows about single-purpose routes like the express bus from Metro to Dulles International Airport.
But outside of such cities, Apple’s transit support remains woefully behind, leaving Google Maps unchallenged for bus guidance in smaller places like Burlington, Vermont, and Missoula, Montana.
Beyond the U.S., Apple Maps is a joke for transit advice. It has no help for subways and buses in Bangkok, Barcelona, Brussels and Buenos Aires, and it’s just as bad across the rest of the alphabet of global cities.
I don’t know what’s made adding transit navigation such a bespoke, artisanal process at Apple, but it has to stop. Because Google and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft (MSFT) have been able to incorporate transit agencies’ schedules and routes. In fact, there’s been a standard format for that since 2006—without the work looking like cartographic trench warfare.
Not all lanes are the same
If you drive to work, your commute…
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