Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have just released an update to iOS 7, but rumors about features coming to the next generation of its mobile operating system, presumably called iOS 8, are already swirling.
9to5Mac reported Tuesday that iOS 8 will feature a major upgrade to the Apple Maps app that comes with every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Enhanced data will make the iOS 8 version of Apple Maps more reliable and easier to use, and the app’s design has been tweaked to be cleaner and easier to read.
Unnamed sources reported that Apple Maps will also get public transit directions in iOS 8, allowing Apple users to finally get directions for trains, subways and busses. The feature will work in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York initially and eventually expand across the U.S. and internationally.
Like in Google Maps, public transit directions will appear alongside “Driving” and “Walking” in the iOS 8 version of Apple Maps. There will also be a slide in iOS 8 Apple Maps to list different routes with icons to indicate different modes of transportation, and users can select directions based on when they want to depart or arrive.
Many of these upgrades are made possible by new acquisitions by Apple, including BroadMap, Embark and HopStop.
Apple dropped Google Maps in 2012 with the release of iOS 6, but its own app wasn’t very well received. Apple Maps was filled with bugs, faulty directions and features like public transit directions. High-level Apple employees were fired, many switched back to Google Maps and several Internet memes were created.
The Apple Maps interface was updated with iOS 7, but the iOS 8 update looks to be a much bigger project.
Apple is also rumored to be working on ways to integrate indoor mapping with iOS 8 and push greater functionality for CarPlay. There are even rumors of augmented reality features coming to iOS 8 and a new program called Healthbook: A health and fitness app that will likely correspond with an Apple smartwatch.