iOS 6 is finally official and one of the most exciting features that Apple announced surely has to be the new Siri based turn-by-turn navigation support. As previously rumored, iOS users are also getting 3D layouts of maps and it really looks like Apple has made the wait worthwhile in delivering their own experience as an alternative to Google.
Google Maps will now be banished from iOS devices forever now of course, but having seen iOS 6 maps in action – that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Apple placed an emphasis on the fact that their Maps app has been built from the ground up and two of the most exciting aspects of the app is real time support for both traffic and ETA, meaning that the app will calculate the shortest route possible, based on the live updates for an area’s particular traffic.
Siri has been integrated too into Maps, meaning that your favorite personal assistant will be the one to tell you how to get to certain places. In the US, Apple has also partnered with Opentable, giving users the ability to tell Siri to search for the nearest restaurants and then make a reservation there and then – very impressive stuff.
The new 3D support, dubbed ‘Flyover’ lets users view cities in birds-eye format in their realistic state, with smooth rotation and zoom controls available. We’re guessing this is Apple’s alternative to Street View and it will be interesting to see just how much control users have, if they want to zoom in to the most accurate of details when using Flyover.
If you used Google Maps in the car on iOS 5, you’ll be pleased to hear that Apple is also providing an upgrade in this area too. They didn’t go into specifics just yet, but they revealed that they are in talks with major car manufacturers to include a physical Siri button on your vehicle, allowing for a completely hands free and ‘eyes off’ experience so you can concentrate on the road.
Overall, we are pretty impressed from the initial showing of the new Maps app in iOS 6. It will be available this Fall for download, but if you have an Apple developers account you can try out the beta right now. Expect to hear more details on Maps and other iOS 6 features soon.