Apple Maps didn’t get all the improvements we were hoping for when iOS 8 was announced earlier this week, at least we haven’t heard of any yet, but it looks like the app is getting one major new feature even if it wasn’t mentioned onstage during WWDC 2014. 9to5mac reports that Apple is introducing indoor positioning based on the iPhone’s M7 processor and working with individual venues to provide accurate maps and navigation.
Until recently, indoor position didn’t really make sense. It’s easy enough to use GPS, cell signals and Wi-Fi to figure out someone’s general location, but placing them somewhere inside an individual building was too difficult and the results were often inaccurate.
To solve this issue Apple is releasing a new CoreLocation API, allowing developers to create indoor maps that communicate directly with the iPhone’s M7 processor and motion sensors. Individual venues will be responsible for setting up their indoor Apple Maps. For smaller stores this won’t be necessary, but it could be extremely helpful at massive malls or theme parks where it’s easy to get lost. Businesses could also use the API to offer special services. For example, you could order food on your phone and have it delivered right to you without leaving the mall.
A few places in California are already using Apple’s indoor positioning, including the Mineta San Jose International Airport and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Google also offers a similar service, though for iPhone owners it should be extremely helpful in certain situations.