Not content with the uneven coverage in Apple Maps since its 2012 launch, Apple on Friday revealed that it will debut limited first-party maps data in the next iOS 12 beta, expanding that coverage as time goes on.
Next week’s first-stage rollout will cover just San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, expanding to northern California by the fall, the company told TechCrunch. To get the necessary data, the company has been doing first-party collection using iPhones and the Apple Maps vehicles that have been roaming cities around the world.
At some point every version of iOS will be able to see the new maps. Apple is also hoping to be quicker on the draw with road and construction changes, and make app graphics more visually detailed, depending on context. This may include enhanced foliage, pools, pedestrian paths, and ground cover.
The effort has reportedly been in progress for four years, with the ultimate goal of completely exorcizing third-party data. The hodge-podge of third-party sources Apple has used so far has sometimes been blamed for Maps’ shortcomings.
“We wanted to take this to the next level,” said Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue. “We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up.”
At the moment corrections and updates need to pass submission and validation, but Cue indicated that the company will soon be able to change anything in Maps in real-time and even more frequently.