Apple Maps could get a feature that Google Maps doesn’t have

Apple Maps has come a long way since it was first released in 2012 as a replacement for Google Maps. The latter was still made available for iPhone users in the App Store (along with YouTube which also was dropped as a native app with iOS 6). At first, Apple Maps was an unmitigated disaster. Some city streets and even countries were labeled with the wrong name and some weren’t named at all. Faulty directions sent users into dangerous areas like the Australian Outback filled with poisonous snakes, very little water, triple-digit temperatures, and scarce mobile phone reception.
As a result of the Apple Maps fiasco, iOS chief Scott Forstall departed Apple after failing to sign an official apology related to the feature. As a result, the company’s chief designer, Jony Ive, ended up with the task of redesigning iOS 7 the next year. Forstall’s days at Apple might have been numbered anyway once Steve Jobs passed in 2011. Forstall and Ive reportedly would not work together and had differing opinions about the continued use of skeuomorphic designs for iOS.
Skeuomorphic designs are those familiar designs that were used on the first generation of Apple’s native apps so that users knew instantly what a particular app was all about. For example, the use of an old black and white television console for the YouTube app would be an example as would a legal pad for the Notes app. Forstall (and Steve Jobs) both were into Skeuomorphic design while Ive preferred more of a modern approach.

A tweet disseminated by iOS developer Steve Moser (via Tom’s Guide) reveals that he has found some code in the Apple Maps app that suggests that Apple might offer Apple Maps navigation for E-Bikes along with optimized routes and estimated times of arrival (ETA) for those who drive them.

It isn’t clear what the difference will be in the directions for non-electric and electric bikes although one possibility is that the latter will include steeper paths that are more likely not to be an obstacle for a motorized vehicle. If it turns out that Apple Maps will include navigation for E-Bikes, that would give it an advantage over Google Maps which doesn’t optimize routes for E-Bikes compared to ordinary bikes that need to be pedaled. But Google Maps does show users where they can rent an E-Bike, the expected time of their E-Bike journey, and the ETA.

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