updated 01:33 pm EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
Some navigation functions to redirect to third-party apps
Waze and several other parties have been identified as contributors to iOS 6's Maps data, TechCrunch notes. Although TomTom is the app's biggest contributor, outfits such as Getchee, Localeze, Urban Mapping, DMTI, and MapData Sciences are also participating. Perhaps one of the biggest names is Waze, a company which provides free crowdsourced map data to parties on iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms. The firm's iOS presence might have been rendered obsolete without Apple's decision to make it a part of the official Maps content.
AppleInsider meanwhile remarks that in some cases, Maps will hand off tasks to third-party apps available at the App Store. Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall initially mentioned the fact during Monday's WWDC 2012 keynote. "When building Maps, we looked around and realized the best transit apps for metros, for hiking, for biking, are coming from our developers," he said. "And so instead of trying to develop those ourselves, we are going to integrate and feature and promote your apps for transit right within the Maps app in iOS 6."
Release notes for the iOS 6 beta go into further detail. "Apps that offer routing information, such as turn-by-turn navigation services, can now register as a routing app and make those services available to the entire system," Apple writes. "Registering as a routing app gives you more opportunities to get your app in front of users. Routing apps are not limited to just driving or walking directions. Routing apps can also include apps that provide directions for the user's favorite bicycle or hiking trail, for air routes, and for subway or other public transportation lines."
When Maps redirects a person, it will give users the option of downloading relevant apps if they aren't already installed. The change may be a step backward, since the iOS 5 version of Maps -- based on Google data -- already includes directions for biking, hiking, and public transportation.