Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of Note to Self, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get Note to Self shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
Apple Keeps Mum on Dropping Transit Directions from Maps
Friday, June 15, 2012 - 04:24 PM
As we reported earlier in the week, Apple launched a fancy new Maps application for iPhone and iPad with all kinds of new features, like 3D aerial imaging, and voice activated Siri-powered turn-by- turn driving directions.
But Apple's developers also dropped transit directions, something the old Maps application included because it was powered in part by Google Maps.
We've reached out to Apple multiple times this week by phone and email to find out when and if they'll add transit back to Maps.
Mum. No response. Nada.
Meanwhile the social media petition started by WalkScore generated some attention in the transit blogosphere, but the because company is asking people to tweet and post to Facebook about this, they don't have an exact number of supporters, just that "thousands" have expressed support so far. (See them all here.)
Seeking clarity on what's to come, a few of the Apple monitoring tech blogs have begun to parse Apple's wording more closely around bus and subway map integration. Apple Insider points out that the release notes for the operating system say third party apps "can now register as a routing app" if they offer turn-by-turn directions, and that will permit those apps to open up the official Apple map more easily.
Phillip Bump at Grist used his access as an official Apple developer to test out the new Maps and returned with an optimistic assessment (and lengthier excerpts of Apple release notes) of how third party apps like HopStop might be easily integrated
Yet, but Bump also cities the blog InformationDiet with a thoughtful post that concludes the exact opposite: that outsourcing transit routing to third party apps could lead to a balkanized, second tier set of routing apps different for each city.
Either way, that means iPhone users won't have transit directions come standard on their phones.
Instead, they'll need to take action to get them, like downloading Google Maps.