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August 12, 2011 / David Bleeker

Inside IOS 5: new Maps features

Apple will deliver a new iOS 5 release this fall, including improvements from the core OS to developer APIs to the interface seen by customers. Among these new changes is a revamped Maps app.

Apple’s iOS Maps app is a front end client to the Google Maps web service. While it was rumored that Apple might build its own mapping service or switch to another provider like Microsoft Bing, iOS 5 continues to use Google Maps for its data.

Apple’s cleverly easy to use iOS Maps app with direct multitouch manipulation has been confused for being a Google invention. Instead, it simply pulls data from Google and presents it in a way that’s simple and fast to browse, making it about as essential as Mobile Safari, and of course much easier to use (particularly for mobile users) than the generic web client Google offers within the browser.

The new iOS 5 Maps app has a new feature that suggests multiple routes, allowing the user to chose between a few options before stepping through the directions to the destination. Below, there are three options given for driving from Pixar to Apple, and selecting between them shows distance and approximate driving times. after selecting a route, Maps’ directions will then fetch detailed instructions. [read more]

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