Apple recently filed for a patent that could allow it to implement new features to maps so that it can provide traffic information based on data collected from other users. For example, one driver with an iOS based device could be sitting in traffic 15 minutes down the road, and you could potentially see that data — including feedback from the driver sitting in traffic — and take another route. Sound familiar?
That’s because it is. In fact, the cross-platform Waze service already offers this type of data. Likewise, TomTom tried to provide similar feedback with in-car GPS systems a few years back, though it ultimately failed as drivers took to smartphones for GPS services instead of standalone products. Waze was recently acquired by Google, though there were rumors that Apple had an interest in the service too. Now we know why.
According to the patent application, Apple wants to enable users to report heavy traffic, slow speeds, construction, a lack of rest stops along a route and more. It also wants to allow users to find scenic routes, smooth roads, charging stations for electric-powered cards and more, however.
Apple needs to improve its Maps application in any way possible. It’s still viewed as an inferior product to Google Maps, and this could help it achieve that goal. Patent applications don’t always result in a final, announced product, though we imagine this is a service that the Cupertino-based company will want to get off the ground as soon as possible.