TomTom, the Dutch navigation systems company that powers Apple Maps, announced today that it has renewed its contract with Apple to provide digital mapping data for iOS.
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Mike Judge’s great HBO comedy Silicon Valley has featured some fantastic references to Apple in the past — including a tongue-in-cheek dismissal of Steve Jobs as someone who “didn’t even code” and two not-so-obvious Apple logos that pop up during the show’s opening.
The most recent episode, entitled “Homicide,” contained one more namecheck of everyone’s favorite Cupertino company, but it’s unlikely to be a reference that got Tim Cook guffawing in front of his TV at home — since it skewered one of the most notorious Apple products of all time.
Let’s just leave aside the obvious Apple Maps jokes and focus on how cool this Etsy user’s Westeros map is.
It’s the continent where the war, sex and epic political conniving takes place in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, made to look like a modern map you might find on your iPhone or Mac.
How cool is that?
Getting direction from a computer sucks, but that could soon change based on a new patent filed by Apple for “Humanized Navigation Instructions for Mapping Applications.
Rather than receiving instructions from an emotion-less robot, Apple’s new patent would make Siri’s turn-by-turn directions sound more like they’re coming from your buddy in the passenger seat by mixing in references to restaurants and landmarks.
Here’s some examples you might here, instead of just being told “in 500 feet, turn right”:
You’re driving home late one night with your friend following. You lose him at a red light and, realizing he doesn’t have your address, need to tell him where to go.
You ask Siri to share your route with your friend, and voila, he’s able to follow your location as you drive with the Maps app.
Such is the kind of scenario that could arise in the future, thanks to a new Apple patent.
For a long time, Apple Maps was a laughing stock. Then it started getting better. Apple ironed out the glitches, began updating Apple Maps every day, and introduced Flyover, which gave you a 3-D view of major cities as they would look from the sky.
Now it’s taken that technology one step further in an effort to win the mapping war versus Google: Apple Maps is going real-time.
Thanks to a new update, London’s Big Ben clock tower will now show the real time, while the iconic London Eye will rotate. Those are the only real-time updates we’ve spotted so far, but Apple is reportedly looking to add more moving elements to cities over the following year.
After hints that a broader international rollout was imminent, Apple Maps Connect has officially come to Germany, France and Canada.
The mysterious Apple minivans roaming the roads in California, Florida and elsewhere are generally assumed to be self-driving cars, but they are not. They are almost undoubtedly collecting data for maps.
They are “almost certainly a mapping vehicle,” said Paul Godsmark, chief technology officer with the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence, who examined photos of the mystery vehicles at Cult of Mac’s request.
You may have never heard of the Aral Sea, even though it was the fourth largest lake in the world as recently as the 1960’s.
The once-gigantic body of water which rests on the border of Uzbekistan has shrunk to less than 10% of its former size over the last half century. It’s been dubbed one of the worst environmental disasters ever, but looking at Apple Maps you’d never even know the Russians drained the mighty lake dry, destroyed its robust fishing industry, and left behind a wasteland of salt, pollution, and toxic dust storms.
Apple Maps has been out for over two years, but it’s just finally completing its original mission to completely replace Google Maps in all of Apple’s products.
Starting today, iCloud.com users will see an online version of Apple Maps when using Find My iPhone instead of Google Maps.