All signs point toward the impending general availability of Windows 8, what with the upcoming OS launch event, the Surface RT finally hitting the FCC, and Paul Allen letting the world knows what he thinks of it. In light of this, the Redmond company has announced a final update push to the built-in apps you’ll find in Windows 8. The Bing update will be first out the gate tomorrow — it promises richer search results for local content — with the rest rolling out through October 26th. Also of note is Music, which touts “expanded music services” as an update (Xbox Music, anyone?). If you’re itching to know what built-in apps will be updated, you can get the full and extensive list after the break.
Apple’s iOS 6 features a new version of Maps, previously on the iPhone and other iOS devices the Maps app was basically Google Maps, this was replaced with Apple’s own Maps application on Wednesday when iOS 6 was released.
A number of iOS 6 users have criticized the new Maps application, over missing features and problems, and now Apple has released a statement about its new Maps app to the guys over at AllThingsD.
“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller. “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
According to AllThingsD, the developer team for Apple’s iOS 6 Maps is apparently ‘under lockdown’ in an attempt to fix the various issues with the new Maps app.
Here’s a bit of a surprise that slipped under the radar during the Google I/O keynote: Google Earth for Android has been updated to 7.0 to take advantage of the new 3D map technology it unveiled at another special event just a few weeks ago. As a refresher, the visuals are automatically created from 45-degree aerial imagery and can pick up 3D elements as subtle as trees. Before you go racing to your hometown to see how it looks in 3D, be aware that just a handful of cities and regions exploit that dimension. Besides San Francisco Bay, the full coverage extends to Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz and Tampa in the US, with Rome being the lone international hotspot. If that’s too few places to visit, there’s always the addition of guided tours. Android users can head over Google Play to get the update today; iOS users shouldn’t fret, as they’ll get the new maps soon.
Apple officially gives Google Maps the boot, launches own Maps app with turn-by-turn navigation (updated)
It’s been one the big questions hanging over WWDC — will Apple actually toss Google to the side and launch it’s own mapping service specifically for iOS? Well, it’s not a question any more, but a cold hard fact. Apple’s mapping solution is here, taking over where Google left off. The move is hardly shocking since Apple has already confirmed that it’s been working on a traffic database and snatched up a number of mapping companies. Besides, it’s not like Cupertino and Mountain View are the best of buds right now. Maps includes all of the features you’ve come to expect from the previous iOS solution, but with a number of enhancements. This all new mapping solution includes 100 million different business listings, Yelp integration and, biggest of all, turn-by-turn navigation. The app does use anonymously collected data to populate traffic information and any rerouting is brought to your attention with a pop-up notification.
The story isn’t done yet, though. The maps are even rendered in full 3D, not unlike what Google announced last week. (And the news was delivered in a way that made it clear Apple think’s they’ve one upped their former map app provider.) The whole demo — flipping through business listings, flying around in 3D and navigating labyrinth-like city streets — was performed on one of those shiny new iPads… you know, the ones that are getting Siri support soon. Which, if you haven’t figured out yet, plays quite nicely with the new Maps app as we saw in the demo. Ask Siri to find a gas station on your route or how much longer you’ll be on the road and the pleasantly robotic voice gets you the relevant info.
Update: Several of our readers scoured the fine print on Apple’s freshly launched iOS 6 Maps page, and informed us that the Flyover and turn-by-turn features will only be available to folks with an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 or later. Guess that’s just one more reason to upgrade, eh?
Looks like they didn’t print the banner out for nothing — as anticipated, it’s not just refreshed MacBook Airs or Mountain Lion getting the red carpet treatment at today’s World Wide Developer’s Conference keynote. Cupertino has also taken the shiny cling wrap off of the latest version of iOS. What’s new? Well at least 200 things! Most notably, Siri has gotten a little make over, including the ability to launch apps, more knowledge of sports, restaurants and movie times, it’s also coming to iPad. There’s better Facebook integration too, with photos, websites, maps and more getting the instant share option — you can even “like” or share app from the Appstore. Other tweaks on the phone side of things let you dismiss incoming calls with a swipe, or send a pre-written SMS, even set it to give you a reminder once you change location.
Another popular feature will be “Do Not Disturb” which holds off all those notifications (from your new Facebook friends, we guess). You’ll still get them, but the won’t alert, or light up the screen. Face-timers will also be pleased to see that feature finally working over cellular. Sharing images also just got easier with shared Photo Streams — choose the pictures, choose the friends. Done. New “Guided Access” allows parents or teachers (for example) to keep users from exiting an app accidentally (or in the case of the teachers — intentionally!). More info and PR after the break.
As we’d already been speculating, Apple has developed its own maps app, with more than 100 million businesses already integrated. There will be live traffic information (sourced in real-time anonymously from iOS users) and turn-by-turn navigation in the works. Directions will be visible from the lock screen, and you can — of course — use Siri to get them. There are vector-based 3D maps (just like Google’s) when you zoom in close,
Wondering if and when you can get these features? Well, it’s supported by iPhone 3GS and upwards, that includes the second and third generation iPads, plus fourth-gen iPod touches. Beta is going out today, with a full release in the fall.
Despite Google’s best efforts to continually roll out new features and updates, it can’t add everything. This is where last April’s Map Maker comes in and it’s been given a design refresh in line with the rest of Google’s portfolio. The update also attempts to make the interface easier for first-timers, with a brief tutorial page explaining all the tools on offer. You can now draw in new roads, bike trails and other local features in over 180 countries and once approved — there is a moderation system in place — they’ll appear integrated into this alternate universe Google map. Wannabe cartographers can check the video intro after the break or get involved at the source link below.
Steve Ballmer may have confessed during today’s WPC keynote that Windows Phone 7′s market share is still “very small,” but it’s obvious the team is doing monumental things with Mango. As the mobile OS finds it own, things like indoor mapping and a pristine iteration of Visual Voicemail could be key to swaying folks who still believe that Microsoft’s latest attempt in the smartphone universe still lacks the basics. The fine folks over at Pocketnow and WMPowerUser have been putting the latest build of Mango through those exact paces, and both instances are looking downright delicious. We won’t bore you with textual details; head on past the break for a bit of visual proof.
When we hear the name GAIA, our memory automatically zooms back to the Whoopi Goldberg-voiced Mother Earth from Captain Planet. This isn’t that GAIA, but it does have to do with planets. Back at the turn of the millennium, the European Space Agency devised an ambitious mission to map one billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy — in 3D (insert Joey Lawrence ‘whoa!’). To do this, it enlisted UK-based e2v Technologies and built an immense digital camera comprised of 106 snugly-fit charge coupled devices — the largest ever for a space program. These credit card-shaped, human hair-thick slabs of silicon carbide act like tiny galactic eyes, each storing incoming light as a singlepixel. Not sufficiently impressed? Then consider this: the stellar cam is so all-seeing, “it could measure the thumbnails of a person on the Moon” — from Earth. Yeah. Set to launch on the Soyuz-Fregat sometime this year, the celestial surveyor will make its five-year home in the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, beaming its outerspace discoveries to radio dishes in Spain and Australia — and occasionally peeping in your neighbor’s window.
Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope — a collaboration with NASA that explores high-resolution photos and 3D renders of the cosmos — was already pretty cool, but Redmond upped the ante to incredible with the addition of a Kinect depth camera at MIX 11. Using a piece of software created with the company’s upcoming Kinect SDK for Windows, Microsoft gave us a virtual tour of Earth and the surrounding stars, guided by a deep-voiced narrator holding the whole world in his hands. Of course, you’d already know that if you watched the video above, so what are you waiting for? Oh, and we’ve got more MIX video on the way, so stay tuned.
It’s tough to read too much into this, but when Apple publishes a couple of job applications hoping to bring on folks who can “radically improve how people interact with maps and location-based services,” we can’t help but take note. The outfit’s currently seeking a pair of full-timers to be labeled as iOS Maps Application Developers, and it’s honing in on applicants with “excellent skills in object-oriented software design and programming.” We’ve felt for awhile that Apple’s built-in Maps application wasn’t even comparable to Google Maps Navigation, but it could be time for that to change. Even now, iOS users need to fork out cash on a legitimate turn-by-turn app if they’re hoping to navigate with the iPod touch or iPhone, but we can only hope that these applications are hinting at a more full-fledged internal program for the software’s next major iteration.’Course, we’re sure TomTom would beg to disagree…
Unsurprisingly, El Goog gifted the Android versions of Latitude and Places with these updates a few weeks back, but now the iOS loyalists are being brought into a similar circle. The search giant has just added check-ins to the iOS version of Google Latitude, with any iDevice using iOS 4 or higher being deemed compatible. In related news, the Applefied build of Google Places is now available in 30 languages, and there’s an added ‘Saved Places’ feature for keeping tabs on your favorite spots. You can check your phone for updates, or if you haven’t dug in yet, have a poke around in the App Store.