New Apple Patent Shows The Direction Its Maps Might Take

Whether you're dependent on the weather, hiking, or driving, Apple may have a map layer for you in the future.

A patent granted by the USPTO hints at how Apple is looking to develop its much-maligned Maps service. Filed 18 months ago, the "interactive map" idea would create a series of layers for users to select topics like tourism, shopping, commuting, or even the weather and see the results displayed on the map.

Like most map apps from big tech firms, users can search for items such as food already. The idea from Apple, however, is that a search for Food would bring up different results depending on whether the user's phone were set to "hiking," "driving," or "walking" mode. A hotel search using this system while traveling in one direction would only bring up hotels on the projected route for the user. Routes could also be plotted by placing two fingers on two points.

Other information, such as flight arrival times, could be made available by tapping an airport on the map—hopefully with better results than in the past—although this would be subject to content deals with third-party providers. Localized advertising could be provided using Apple's iBeacon, which it rolled out in 254 of its U.S. stores earlier this month. Cupertino, which booted Google Maps off iOS before the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012, is seen to be chasing its Mountain View counterpart—in October of this year, a job advertisement hinted that it was getting ready to tackle public transport mapping.

[Image: Flickr user Mike Knell]

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