The USPTO has published an Apple patent originally filed in 2011, which details a system where Maps users offer “ratings for routes, streets and/or locations,” in what seems like an effort to add Waze-like functionality to its iOS Maps application.
Apple’s invention basically calls for improving iOS mapping through user feedback, a concept already used by Waze.
Waze has been rumored to be in talks with Apple for a potential acquisition by the Cupertino giant. However, Google snagged it first.
But Apple claims its own rights to “User-Specified Route Rating and Alerts,” the title of said patent application which, in some embodiments, can have “a user provide ratings for routes, streets and/or locations.”
According to the abstract of the invention, “In some implementations, the user can initiate an alert associated with a location. In some implementations, user-specified ratings and alerts can be included in a route determination.”
In other embodiments, mapping information (including route rating and alerts) can be sent to other users’ devices.
Apple Maps initially debuted in iOS 6 last year, and has now expanded to the Mac through OS X Mavericks, the upcoming major release of Apple’s desktop operating system.
The mapping service developed from scratch by Apple has been an ill-fated one, with numerous errors and graphical glitches being reported.
CEO Tim Cook has been forced to issue an apologetic open letter to the public as a result of the PR nightmare, and has even terminated a number of key executives because of the ordeal.
An iCloud service at heart, Apple Maps is improving each day, but at a very slow pace.
In divorcing Google, whose Maps engine has been the default option on iOS for the better part of the iPhone’s lifespan, Apple has discovered the hard way that getting mapping right is a tough affair.