Apple will add a public transportation directions feature to Apple Maps in its iOS9 operating system, the company said Monday. Users will finally be able to once again receive public transit directions, a key feature that was lost when Apple switched to its own system in 2012 from Google Maps.
Apple's planned move to reintroduce the feature with the operating system update was first reported by the site 9to5Mac. “Yes, it’s transit,” Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president for software engineering, said Monday via TechCrunch at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The directions will reportedly cover bus, train, ferry and subway directions. Federighi also said Apple focused on small details such as the precise layout of a large subway station to improve the user experience, according to TechCrunch. The transit feature is expected to first roll out in limited cities, both in the United States and internationally. Planned launch cities include Baltimore; Chicago; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; London; Toronto; and Berlin, the Verge reported. The site said that the coverage at the start will be similar to Google Maps' public transit offering in 2008. A recent blog post from Google said its Maps service now covers 18,000 cities in 64 countries.
Apple Maps was a much-maligned system when iOS6 first rolled out in 2012 with numerous glitches and often made mistakes with directions and locations. Federighi said Monday that Apple Maps already processes 5 billion user requests per week and is used 3.5 times more than other iOS map services, according to TechCrunch. Google Maps' standalone app, however, is usually near the top of Apple's free app charts since its launch in 2012, the Verge reported. Apple bought navigation startups in recent years as well to help boost its navigation abilities.
The next version of iOS9 is scheduled to debut this fall and is expected to use far less storage space on devices. There are more than 5,000 app makers in San Francisco for the Worldwide Developers Conference, Cnet reported.