While the launch of iOS 7 marked an aesthetic overhaul for Apple Maps, the smartphone giant is looking to really stick it to Google Maps by the time iOS 8 rolls around. Apple's location-based application is rumored to gain major improvements in the near future, including public transit directions and camera-based augmented reality.
Apple has acquired a slew of map-based app companies over the past year, including transit favorites like Embark and HopStop. These resources are expected to bolster Apple's map data, meaning you'll get more reliable directions when you need to find the nearest airport or train station.
Given those aforementioned acquisitions, Maps is likely to add public transit directions this year. According to a report from 9 to 5 Mac, users will be able to look up train, subway, and bus directions in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, with more locations to be added in the future. You'll be able to find exactly which subway stop to get off at using Apple Maps alone, though the app will point you to other location-based services via the App Store to give you alternatives.
Apple is also looking to eliminate the need for external augmented reality apps, as Maps will likely add the ability to find points of interest by simply pointing your iPhone camera at the street. Details are scarce on this potential feature, but you just might be able to find a popular bar or restaurant using your iSight camera alone.
Although iOS 8 will be made available for current smartphones, the improvements within Maps could go a long way towards getting shoppers to buy an iPhone 6 when it becomes available (likely this fall). That flagship is expected to sport a larger 4.7-inch display, a faster A8 chip and an enhanced 10-MP camera.
Source: 9 to 5 Mac