Apple Inc is rebuilding the widely used mapping application on its iPhones from the ground up with its own dataset, but Amsterdam-based TomTom NV will continue to be a data provider for Apple’s maps app.
Apple did not say how its use of TomTom would compare to its previous use, but TomTom shares fell after the news.
Apple said it is completely rebuilding its Maps app – the most frequently used app on its iPhones – with data gathered by its own fleet of sensor-equipped vans and with anonymous data from iPhone users that choose to share it.
Apple said it will start the rollout this fall with new maps of Northern California.
Technology publication TechCrunch reported Apple’s mapping effort earlier on Friday. After the story was published, TomTom shares fell as much as 5 percent from session highs before closing the day down 1.7 percent from the previous day at 7.76 euros.
TechCrunch quoted Apple SVP Eddy Cue on the revamp, who said “Since we introduced this six years ago – we won’t rehash all the issues we’ve had when we introduced it – we’ve done a huge investment in getting the map up to par. When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place.
Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.”
Cue added, “We wanted to take this to the next level. We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up.”
“We don’t think there’s anybody doing this level of work that we’re doing,” elaborated Cue. “We haven’t announced this. We haven’t told anybody about this. It’s one of those things that we’ve been able to keep pretty much a secret. Nobody really knows about it. We’re excited to get it out there. Over the next year, we’ll be rolling it out, section by section in the US.”
Earlier this month, Apple Maps experienced a multi-hour global outage that affected navigation and location search services. As per the system status available on Apple’s website, all users were affected by the issue that was resolved after over four hours of its emergence. The prime cause of the issue wasn’t revealed formally. However, Apple said that it investigated and fixed the issues.
During the outage, users weren’t able to access navigation or search for places through the mapping service in the duration of the outage. Some users even spotted its impact on third-party apps, including weather apps, using Apple’s location services.
Apart from iOS devices, the outage was impacting location-based experiences on Apple Watch and in-dash systems powered by Apple’s CarPlay. The issue apparently affected the Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search services, while Maps Display and Maps Traffic services didn’t face any issue.