iOS 7.1 is only a day old, but new details are already starting to emerge about iOS 8. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell 9to5Mac the company will revamp its Maps application to give Google a run for its mapping money. It’s also focusing on improved transit directions and augmented reality.
It’s no secret that Apple’s homegrown Maps app was a pretty big flop (though it’s improved, I still use Google Maps instead). It has been getting better, though, with an interface redesign for iOS 7 that made it more attractive and more usable. Changes to come in iOS 8 are said to take place largely behind the scenes. Apple will incorporate technology and data from BroadMap, Embark and HopStop – all relatively recent acquisitions – to make the app more reliable. It will also feature new points of interest and clearer labels.
Transit directions will also be embedded, allowing users to tap into bus, subway and train data for major cities right from the app. There will also be an optional view that highlights public transportation stops and locations. Directions are said to come from a slide up panel, à la Google Maps, though the transit view is believed to show a split screen highlighting alternate routes, which is cool. And while this might not show up until further down the line, Apple is also said to be working on augmented reality functionality that uses the iPhone’s compass to show nearby points of interest.
In addition to the improved mapping, it has previously been reported that Apple is going to focus on fitness in iOS 8 as well, with the addition of a Healthbook app that logs health and activity information. We’re likely to get a first look at all of these features at the company’s next WWDC conference in a few months’ time.