iOS 6 preview: Maps gets turn-by-turn navigation

With iOS 6, Apple is replacing the previous, Google-powered Maps app on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, with a completely redesigned, re-rendered, and re-imagined Maps app. The data itself is supplied by TomTom, but Apple has draw all the maps, and while they've lost some features, like Street View, they're adding new ones, like turn-by-turn navigation

Rumor has it, Apple's been wanting to add turn-by-turn for a while now, but Google would only give it to them if Apple took the location-tracking Latitude feature as well. Apple declined. Now, in command of their own geo-destiny, Apple will soon be providing free navigation for one and all, and thanks to Siri on the iPhone 4S and future devices, it'll have full on voice directions as well.

Here's how Apple describes it:

Find your way to your destination using turn-by-turn spoken directions, a 3D view, and real-time traffic information. As you approach a turn, Maps speaks directions, so you can keep your eyes on the road. In addition, the screen turns into a 3D perspective view of the road ahead. Large signs and arrows superimposed over the image show you which way to go and how long it’s going to take to get there — even if your screen is locked. As you approach a turn, the camera angle changes dynamically to show you where to go. If you miss a turn, don’t worry. Maps automatically reroutes you and updates your ETA.

Based on what Apple's shown off so far, here are the features:

  • From any location in the Maps app, tap on the Quick Route button to start turn-by-turn navigation.

  • You can also just ask Siri to tell you how to get where you want to go, and it will launch you into Maps and turn-by-turn.

  • Once Maps knows where you want to go, it will start navigating you there, with the Siri voice providing audio directions.

  • You'll be able to monitor your estimated time of arrival (ETA) right from the navigation screen.

  • Maps will monitor traffic and, if it slows down or a problem arrises, will try and re-route you around it.

  • Turn-by-turn navigation will have access to the Lock screen, so you can keep getting directions even when out of the Maps app.

  • Using Siri, you can also ask for point-of-interest information, like where gas stations and stores are located.

Apple's finely crafted, vector map tiles, exquisite turn-by-turn interface, and Siri powering it all, makes for an excellent, if online-only solution. Still, for quickly finding your way somewhere, and even more quickly finding places on the way, iOS 6 Maps should be just what the navigator ordered.

iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19. For more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out:

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 23 comments. Add yours.

ronm88 says:

It works VERY well. It is the best navigation system I have ever used, and it re-routes almost instantaneously.

I just hope that Apple also allows a Google maps app as well since I find Google's maps have much more information and are easier to read. The best of both worlds (for right now) is Apple's maps for navigation, and Google for reading the maps. Of course, Apple's maps will also probably improve greatly over time. Competition is a good thing!

9thWonder says:

yeah i bet this means you'll see a free google nav app soon on ios just to steal customers and tie time into google stuff.

Mac58 says:

"Rumor has it, Apple's been wanting to add turn-by-turn for a while now, but Google would only give it to them if Apple took the location-tracking Latitude feature as well. Apple declined"

If google did not have the permission to make an app from apple unless these pretenses are made, why would google make one now? Also it seems like the users of IOS like the apple Navigation so if it really is as good as they say, Apple should have nothing to worry about in regards to 'steal customers' and 'tie time into google stuff'.

9thWonder says:

Because google is an ad sales company and they can stick adds in the app. Plus i don't know anyone that even knows what lattitude is. i doubt it's that important now. Plus that's Google that wanted to include latittude. They could just as easily decide they can live without it.

YOu're thinking Android. I'm thinking the major part of google's revenue which is ad sales. And tying people to google stuff keeps them using google products like browsers, email, google maps, etc and keeps them looking at Google ads. It's not about steal ios customers and get them to android. I'm talking about stealing back customers that now use google maps in the included maps app that will move to ios maps app. And they are already rumored to be making a google maps app. They have chrome, they have gmail, they have an interface for gmusic designed for ios users. They wanted to bring nav before. I see no reason they still wouldn't want to be in front of those customers, learning where they are traveling, what stores they are near blah blah blah.

piratemonkey says:

Rene......newbie as a member but follow you guys every single day!!!.....GREAT job, keep up the great work
Quick question re: Maps.....any word if Apple will ever add speed gauge to navigation as TomTom app gives you now.....I really miss this feature and knowing what the speed limits are when traveling

Ellerbestyle says:

Bet you that will be something they add down the road as an update. They always leave stuff out so they can make it better later.

Raptor007 says:

Sadly that is true. Apple always plays the delay features game so they can say "One more thing" or add it later as a we had a great idea move. The speed indication feature is a no duh feature that should be there now, not in 6 months.

Rene Ritchie says:

No company, including Apple, can do everything at once. Any feature they add now comes at the cost of another feature they can't do. So they'll get done Flyover this time, and something else for next time.

Conspiracies sound more fun, but reality is usually simpler and less interesting.

JF7FSU says:

Will it have walking routes and bus schedules as the google maps app did? I found these invaluable while traveling.

ColetonAM says:

It doesn't have public transportation for directions

DrBit2011 says:

I really hope this will be off-line (without Siri), one of the best nav app is from Nokia, and allow to download map directy to your mobile, so i really think there will be a good idea to allow offline nav to iDevices, in fact this feature is the key for my future device, I really need a handheld capable to nav and oflline.

Regards

devonair says:

Personally, I'm excited for this (and looking forward to canceling my telenav subscription -- especially since I'm NOT a fan of their new update). My girlfriend, however, is sad that this most likely won't include any sort of street view (she likes to be able to see a preview of what she should be looking for when driving to a new place). I've told her that google will likely continue to make their maps app available in the app store -- but has Apple hinted at any possibility of such a feature being available in their built-in app?

mustangboy88 says:

Can this be used in landscape? I always see it being used in portrait.

Ellerbestyle says:

Yes you can. It even will keep you up to date at the top of your next turn if you exit out of the app to do something else.

bsbharath1987 says:

I only hope that they try to cover many countries as soon as possible. For example, here in India, Google Maps provide excellent coverage, almost all POIs are included. Apple Maps currently lags behind in terms of content and coverage. Also, Siri doesn't find places in India yet. I hope that either they improve or Google make an app of their own.

Raptor007 says:

Good overview Rene, and from the looks of Apples new Maps app I could almost not install the TomTom GPS app on my iPhone/iPad. Well once they add the missing features likes speed indicator which I do find useful.

What would be really cool is if Apple could just update apps like Maps independently of an entire iOS update so we don't have to wait months and months for a dot revision.

kazmi says:

Am curious if this will work on the IPhone 4 or just on 4S and later devices?

laserguided says:

I've heard it works but it doesn't have voice direction. I think that is all tied to Siri. I have a 4 and plan on updating next month when the new phone is released.

AppleZilla says:

I can't wait. Death to Google Maps. Au revoir, Navigon.

woody88 says:

stop using fancy spanish words that I cannot understand!

Dominator8151 says:

Does it require a data connection? Or is that just for the traffic updates?