Keen to catch up to rivals like Waze, Apple is planning to introduce some of the app’s most popular features into its upcoming iOS 14.5 release.
Now, when users type in a location into Apple Maps and set a route, Siri will allow users to now report accidents or hazards that are seen along the way, creating a crowdsourced mapping experience. When users swipe up on the Apple Maps interface, they will be able to press a new Report button to flag an accident, hazard, or speed check, and tapping the button will automatically flag a user’s location with no confirmation window, offering speed and convenience, though users might be cautious of using it if they’re worried about privacy.
It will also be possible to flag accidents to Siri using your voice – just say “Hey Siri, there’s an accident” and Siri will send in a report to Apple Maps. The idea is that, if enough users report the same accident, it’ll then appear on Apple Maps through its crowdsourcing tool. It’s likely that this new model will only be available in the United States on the launch, though Apple could introduce the feature in other key markets as the software develops further. As first reported on MacRumors, the new features also integrate with Apple CarPlay.
The future of Maps on iOS
Apple has made great strides with Apple Maps in 2020 and now with new features as part of the iOS 14.5 update, it’s signalling the next generation of mapping on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
And by depending on its users to alert Apple Maps to potential traffic problems, the app will become even more convenient and useful, creating a genuine rival to Waze. In the years ahead, as Apple continues to add features that streamline navigation and time management, consumers should come flocking to Apple Maps and help it grow its market share.
And it will need Apple Maps to be a success – with the company reportedly readying the launch of its very own electric vehicle in the next five years, Apple Maps will soon become a core product.
Investing in Maps is about much more than public relations and offering users an alternative to products from Google and Microsoft – it’s about adding another revenue stream to the company’s growing services divisions. Google Maps will reportedly be worth $11 billion in the next couple of years, thanks to advertising on the maps platform and the rise of things such as Promoted Pins, as well as selling the API to third-party developers and companies.
Though Apple is unlikely to offer advertising inside of the Apple Maps platform, at least in the short-term, the company is at a unique advantage in that consumers are increasingly turning away from Google, looking for more privacy-focused solutions, and so a huge Apple Maps push would not be unreasonable. Add in the fact that Apple is reportedly planning to launch its own search engine and it’s clear that recent innovations in the Maps space are about rivaling the search giant.
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