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Apple Hints at Future Turn-by-Turn GPS Directions With Traffic for iPhone


As part of its Q&A regarding location tracking posted earlier today, Apple discloses that it is currently collecting "anonymous traffic data" from users' devices with the aim of providing an "improved traffic experience in the next couple of years".

What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?

Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.

That traffic experience would presumably be built on top of a turn-by-turn navigation system separate from the Maps application included in iOS and driven by Google.

In November 2009, an Apple job posting described an iPhone engineering position that would help take Maps "to the next level". The company followed that up last December, with a set of four job listings seeking iOS engineers with experience in developing navigation software, further fueling speculation that Apple is working on its own navigation system.

On a broader scale, Apple has increasingly looked to beef up its own mapping and geolocation services in an attempt to distance itself from Google, which has provided the core Maps application for the iPhone since the device's 2007 debut. Apple acquired mapping company Placebase in July 2009 and followed that up by purchasing small Canadian mapping firm Poly9 one year later. Apple also moved its location services for iOS in-house with the release of iOS 3.2 on the iPad in April 2010, separating itself from Google and Skyhook Wireless for such services.

Google has offered free turn-by-turn navigation on Android since late 2009 and had hinted at that time that it could bring the service to iOS, although the company later backpedaled from those claims.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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47 months ago

LOL...really macrumors?! Are you guys that poor at comprehension?!?! I think a 5 year old could tell you they mean network traffic!


I'm not so sure.... I think it could easily be interpreting both ways. but that last part about providing a superior "traffic service" makes me think it means road traffic. What kind of "traffic service" would they provide for network traffic? It would read something along the lines of "to minimize [network] traffic" or "to provide superior reception". But to provide a traffice service implies road traffic.

So get off your high horse, even if it does mean network traffic (which I don't think because of what I said) there are easily ways to interpret for both
Rating: 4 Votes
47 months ago
Garmin/Tomtom and co should be scared.
Rating: 4 Votes
47 months ago
Good. Apple can make a better software than Google. No doubts; here we go.
Rating: 2 Votes
47 months ago

Good. Apple can make a better software than Google. No doubts; here we go.


If Apple top Google Maps on Android as it is today then hats off to them as Google Maps is fantastic. Im really looking forward to seeing what Apple can do.
Rating: 2 Votes
47 months ago
Apple is already behind when it comes to Maps with Google providing full turn-by-turn navigation on Andriod devices. They need to come up with something big and QUICK!

Hopefully whatever that's released in June will have it or at least some of it.
Rating: 2 Votes
47 months ago

I wonder what over profit generating uses Apple intends to use location data, collected with location services off, in the future ?


The better Apple does, the more desperate you are to find something, *anything* to hold against them. Most of which is actually meaningless. The latest is the cell-tower logging issue. You do realize that about 90% of tech companies out there would kill to have this be their biggest problem . . .
Rating: 2 Votes
47 months ago
Actually, it will be better than Garmin.

What they do, is they hire local people to watch you via the position tracking. Then, they can give you directions based on your exact location.

Imagine, "Slow down for upcoming pot hole on left."
Rating: 1 Votes
47 months ago

I took this to mean traffic as in network traffic. iOS devices, and all new smartphones, utilize a lot of network traffic. It wouldn't surprise me if they were looking at more robust ways of utilizing traffic, compression, etc. I'm not sure how they would collect traffic data. I suppose if they see a cell signal sitting in the same place for 20 minutes, it would reflect a traffic jam. But then again, they could have parallel parked and went to go grab a Starbucks.


Yeah I'm with you (and the other's who've said similar) on this.
This has been misinterpreted. I'm sure they'll just mean network/data traffic. Things like response times, dropouts, average data transfers, etc, so maybe they'll build in some sort of compression for apps that are data intensive.

There's no way to distinguish between whether the user is a pedestrian or in a vehicle.
Could be a cyclist flying along roads, or a person jogging, at the same pace as a car stuck in traffic. Has the car stopped because of heavy traffic, or because they can't hold it in any longer!!

There's way to many variables to consider for this to be about them collecting road traffic information.
Rating: 1 Votes
47 months ago

I took this to mean traffic as in network traffic. iOS devices, and all new smartphones, utilize a lot of network traffic. It wouldn't surprise me if they were looking at more robust ways of utilizing traffic, compression, etc. I'm not sure how they would collect traffic data. I suppose if they see a cell signal sitting in the same place for 20 minutes, it would reflect a traffic jam. But then again, they could have parallel parked and went to go grab a Starbucks.


No, nobody refers to network traffic in that way as it comes to development, projects and jobs.

They are talking about actually road traffic with cars and buses.
Rating: 1 Votes
47 months ago

LOL...really macrumors?! Are you guys that poor at comprehension?!?! I think a 5 year old could tell you they mean network traffic!

I sincerely hope this is just a ploy at generating news, otherwise someone seriously needs to return to primary school.


Sometimes it's funny when people are doing things they accuse others of doing. Other times, it's sad. This is one of those times.
Rating: 1 Votes

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