Fall 2012 will be a busy season for Apple Inc. In addition to releasing the iPhone 5, the newest model in its smartphone series, the company is unveiling a new mobile operating system, the iOS 6.
The new system arrives with a host of new and updated apps, with the highly anticipated new Apple Maps app.
Of the changes in the newest version of the app, the biggest is the authorship: Apple Maps is designed and built by the company itself. Previous operating systems utilized Google Maps to help users find their way around.
Graphics for the new Apple Maps have been designed for smooth performance on the iPhone and the iPad. Text and images will be clear and readable even when users zoom in or scan pages on the screen, or view the information on the screen at an angle, according to Apple.
Apple Maps for iOS 6 comes with turn-by-turn navigation, a feature not included with previous systems. Before iOS 6, users had to pair third-party apps such as Tom Tom with Google Maps to get directions.
Apple Maps has 3D views, alternate routes, real-time traffic updates and spoken directions to keep drivers focused on the road, according to Apple. These features were not available on previous systems.
On the screen, graphics feature large signs and arrows on 3D maps displayed when users zoom in and pan on the screen. The new app can tell drivers how long the current trip will take (in time and mileage) and the estimated time of arrival at the destination, with a countdown of how much time has elapsed and how many miles have been driven since the trip began.
And if the driver makes an error and misses a turn, GPS tracking automatically recalculates and displays a new route to get the user back on track, Apple says.
There are many 3rd party apps which can use it too, adding even more functionality and potential. One such app can display a separate gps tracker location remotely so that you can track the location of your other valuables.
GPS tracking can also help Apple Maps users deal with traffic. Real-time information updates alert drivers to potential delays and the app can suggest an alternate route to avoid problems, Apple says.
Additional data charges may apply when users activate the turn-by-turn navigational feature, according to Apple.
Another feature of Apple Maps is Flyover, described by the company as "high-resolution, photo-realistic, interactive 3D views" of major metropolitan areas. Users can use the zoom, pan, tilt and rotate functions on their devices to virtually explore cities and landmarks.
Cities currently available in the Flyover feature are Chicago; Copenhagen; Cupertino, Calif.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Montreal; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco; Seattle; and Sydney.
The iOS 6 operating system features an updated version of Siri, which allows the activation of apps and control of devices through vocal commands. A voice command to Siri can open Apple Maps, which then sets a route. Siri can help users find locations along the way, such as shops or restaurants, Apple says.
Additional data charges may apply when the Siri feature is used, according to Apple.
Apple Maps also features Local Search. The app allows users to pinpoint locations on maps. When users zoom in, Local Search can call up detailed information about the area. Shop and restaurant information is available, along with street photos; phone numbers and websites that can be accessed with the push of a button, and addresses.
Local Search can even call up any reviews, ratings and deals available for businesses in the area, Apple says. And, of course, Apple Maps is able to give turn-by-turn directions for a desired location.