Beats Starbucks to punch, becomes first in US to tie store card in
The second-largest clothing chain in the US, Kohl's -- a company that has long supported Apple Pay in its stores for use with registered and supported credit and debit cards -- has now become the first business in the US to support Apple Pay for use with its own store credit card. Owners of the card can now add them to Wallet on some iPad and iPhone models, as well as the Apple Watch, running iOS 9. JC Penny's and BJ's warehouse club are expected to soon follow suit.
Apple's set-top box gains NBC, CBS All Access, M2M channels
Apple has added three new channels to its Apple TV lineup as of Tuesday, with NBC, CBS All Access and speciality channel Made to Measure (M2M) joining the list. NBC's channel is a debut for the veteran network apart from its previous sports-only channel. Only some content will be available on the channel without a cable subscription authentication, as with CBS All Access -- the latter of which offers access to some 7,500 episodes on demand as well as new episodes. M2M is a fashion-oriented channel, and is exclusive to Apple TV.
Transit data contains some small extras not found in rival Google Maps
Full transit functionality the Boston area, as well as wider Northeastern US train data for Amtrak's passenger services, went live on Monday after an announcement earlier this month that the region would be added to the list of US cities getting full transit information. Currently, Apple Maps offers transit data for 30 cities in China, seven cities in the US (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC), and one Canadian city (Toronto).
Half great, half head-slapping
You know that Google Maps is better than Apple Maps: there's probably no one outside Apple itself who would deny that Google's service has far more and richer data, and in some countries is better at finding routes. So the fact that the new Google Maps 4.11.0 release adds Apple Watch support is, in all ways, brilliant. Strike that: it's in all but one ways brilliant. As is so very often the case with Google, you have to switch on settings that you struggle to find -- in part because Google itself tells you the wrong place to look. There's an irony there in a map app by a search giant telling you the wrong place.
Germany, Italy, France feature heavily in newest Flyover additions
Apple is expanding the reach of its Flyover function in Apple Maps to cover even more locations, in its first major update after the rollout of iOS 9. The feature, which allows users to view 3D representations of major cities and popular locations, now covers an extra 20 destinations, with the vast majority of the new additions based in Europe, with some also from Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.
List of 20 companies provides transit data covering ten cities
A recently-spotted change to the Apple Maps acknowledgements page has revealed a list of sources for the upcoming Transit feature. A total of 20 companies have been listed on the page, with each providing Apple with information relating to public transport schedules and other data that will be offered to Apple Maps users in the future, when iOS 9 is released for download by the public.
Apple Maps adds seven new cities to Flyover feature
Earlier this week, Apple expanded the Flyover feature of its Apple Maps service by adding six international and one North American city to the visual-overview feature, which combines aerial photography with computer-generated graphic enhancements to create 3D views of various locations. The new cities have been added to both the iOS and OS X version of Maps.
Apple now labelling ground-truth vans, promoting Apple Maps
Having initially triggered a way of often-silly speculation about driverless, solar-powered cars when its vans first appeared, Apple is now clearly labelling its ground-truth GPS data collection vans as being for use with Apple Maps, and promoting the service with a sign seen on vans now patrolling Seattle. The company recently confirmed that the vans were collecting real-world location data that will be "used to improve Apple Maps."
Maps to continue to use TomTom data for navigation with renewed contract
TomTom, the Dutch mapping data company that has been one of the key partners in Apple Maps since day one, will continue to supply the iPhone maker with geographic and street-level data, despite rumors of a wholly revamped Maps service in the works. TomTom is one of several partners Apple uses to collect location data for Maps, but has been one of the most important, even as Apple has spent much of the last three years acquiring other GPS-related companies.
Apple Maps Connect adds five European countries, allows businesses to update listings
The expansion of Apple Maps Connect, a service that allows developers and business owners to manage and expand current Apple Maps listings, continues. Yesterday, the company added five more countries to its list of European nations able to use the service: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The Maps Connect feature adds business and indoor information drawn from Apple Maps' iBeacon-based Indoor Mapping initiative to help businesses offer a more complete profile on themselves.
Revamped iOS version could make integration easier, but sale seems unlikely
Apple and a number of other companies -- including Facebook, Amazon, Sirius XM, and China-based services Alibaba and Baidu are among many other firms being targeted by Nokia as it prepares to sell off its Here mapping service and technology. While Apple has periodically purchased map technology that can be integrated with its Apple Maps service in the hopes of eventual public transit data, Nokia may be overvaluing the deal.
New sources augment Yelp, may result from Spotsetter acquisition last year
New hotel reviews from TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com are now appearing alongside other local data from long-time partner Yelp in Apple Map search results, even though the two companies are not yet listed as official sources on the Maps attribution webpage. The feature expansion appears to have been implemented very recently, and reports say that some locations now offer additional photos and information on hotels from the two new sources.
Apple Maps is underrated, except when it isn't
Well, this is awkward: I'm about to enthuse at you about how and why Apple Maps is very good, but the impetus came when my wife Angela offered to pick me up from a meeting in Kings Heath, Birmingham (in England, for those not familiar with the place). I shared my location with her over Messages and was just thinking how handy this was, how straightforward and easy it was -- when she texted back "why are you in Stechford?"
May be intended to produce Street View-style content
Unusual minivans -- equipped with what are believed to be cameras and LiDAR sensors -- have been spotted driving around California's Bay Area in recent weeks, reports say. The vehicles each have an X-shaped frame mounted to a luggage rack; the cameras are situated on four corners. Facing forward and back are spinning cylinders, similar to the LiDAR systems used on Google's self-driving car prototypes. Investigation by CBS affliate KPIX has discovered that a blue Dodge Caravan with the equipment is under lease to Apple.
Major additions include Hamburg, Liverpool
Apple has added 12 new towns and cities to the list of Apple Maps locations with Flyover coverage. Of these only one is in the US -- that being Amarillo, Texas. The others include three places in France -- Beziers, Clermont, and Saint-Tropez -- along with Aguadilla and Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Brno in the Czech Republic, Cittadella in Italy, Hamburg in Germany, Helsingborg in Sweden, Liverpool in England, and Odense in Denmark.
Apple acquisitions reportedly continue
Apple may have stealthily acquired two more companies in a continuing effort to improve the functionality of iOS. 9to5Mac reported on Monday that Apple has snatched up both BroadMap – a mapping firm – and Catch – an Evernote competitor – in the last several months. Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that Apple has acquired 15 firms this year, but not all of those have been revealed to date, and these latest two firms appear to be the sort that Apple would pick up.
Filings hint at future product features
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published several Apple patent applications, including separate filings for an "interactive map" interface and "quantum dot-enhanced display." The map application, spotted by AppleInsider, details an interactive interface that dynamically adjusts map content based on a chosen mode, with different modes for a range of activities or interests.
Google loses nearly 80 percent of iOS users, falls on Android as well
A year ago, Apple's own Maps program - which had launched to scathing press and user reviews due to errors, graphical glitches and the dropping of transit directions - was the laughing stock of the mapping industry. Google Maps - which finally produced its own iOS app after months of playing coy - was in the catbird seat, with 81.1 million users (out of a combined 103.6 million US iOS and Android market). One year later, things have changed.
New positions hint at further new features for future updates
Two new job listings at Apple have confirmed that the company is actively working to add public transit routing data to its Maps program, a feature long called-for and expected since the Apple Maps rollout in 2012. The company is hiring a "Maps Public Transit Engineering Manager" as well as a team of "Maps C++ Software Engineers - Public Transit," according to the postings. The manager will be responsible for both leading and building the Public Transit team.
Country has particular issues with labels in Apple Maps
In addition to a rash of hiring positions the company has recently posted for work on further improving its Maps app, Apple has posted a new job for a "Maps Ground Truth Data Specialist" for Australia. The country has had to deal with sometimes-dangerous levels of incorrect information from both Apple Maps and Google Maps, resulting in police warnings to motorists and others not to rely exclusively on the mapping data provided by the apps. The new position would send people out to verify and correct satellite imagery.
Fake names stem from old OpenStreetMap info
Just as Apple Maps has regained user trust by correcting many of the major problems with early versions of its maps, an old prank by some Afghan university students is giving the company another black eye over inaccurate street names shown for areas of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. A reliance on outdated data from OpenStreetMap -- a source used by Apple for some areas, and which is editable by users -- seems to be the source of the joke street names.
MoPub sees iOS 6 adoption jump after Google Maps
[Update: Chitika study contradicts MoPub, says increase due to China debut] Google Maps recent arrival on iOS 6 may have led to a significant number of users upgrading to that version of iOS. This according to ad network MoPub, which saw iOS 6 adoption jump 29 percent in the five days following the release of the new version of Google Maps. A later study by rival Chitika reported that in fact, US increase in iOS 6 adoption rates were basically flat, and credited the bump to the iPhone 5's debut in China, where it sold more than two million units in its first weekend.
Samsung boasts Google Maps over Apple mishaps
Samsung has taken aim at Apple's most recent maps app mishap, poking fun at the recent bulletin issued by police in Victoria, Australia, warning people away from relying solely on the Maps app in iOS 6 when navigating. A new ad installation on display on George Street in Sydney has a lost-looking four-wheel drive and camping equipment parked on a sidewalk, as well as a sign saying "Oops." The ad then goes on to tout the mapping abilities of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, which relies on Google Maps.