The app will be launched with the next iOS 12 update and first released in the San Francisco Bay area.
Apple Maps has always been inferior and unutilised compared to other available navigation apps, despite years of patches, improvements and even an apology from the CEO Tim Cook.
The technology giant is now rebuilding the service using data gathered anonymously from iPhone users and by a fleet of its own cars equipped with cameras and sensors. The updated version will be launched with the next iOS 12 beta update.
The updated maps will be more visually appealing, quicker to respond to roadworks and closures, and detailed in terms of traffic, foliage and pedestrian numbers.
This resetting of Maps started four years ago when Apple began developing new systems to gather data. The company aims at being independent of third-parties’ data, and provide all information for Maps on its own.
According to a report in TechCrunch, Senior Vice President of Apple, Eddy Cue said the company was working on the “best map app in the world” and that building its own database from the ground up is a major part of this plan.
Apple had entertained the idea of building its own maps from scratch but eventually built a product that depended on data patches from partners such as OpenStreetMap and TomTom.
The new app will be launched in the San Francisco Bay area first and available to the rest of Northern California by October. It will be rolled out to different regions of the US over the next year and be sewn together with the current version of Apple Maps; users will be able to tell the difference easily.Apple Maps’ primary competitor is Google Maps which provides users, in over 190 countries, with both navigational assistance and route planning data acquired by satellites. Google Maps expanded its operations and reach by acquiring Waze in 2013 for USD 1.3 billion; Waze is a navigation app that crowdsources information from its users.