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

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.