Apple wants to put Maps onto the web

apple maps hero

According to a new Apple job listing first spotted by Benedict Evans, Apple is about to make its mapping service available to everyone via a cross-platform web application. The full-time position seeks a web engineer with JavaScript expertise “to help make maps work seamlessly on the web.”

Currently, Apple Maps are accessible on the desktop via Mac, on mobile iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and through your wrist via Maps for Apple Watch.

Providing an HTML-based Maps web app should support any standards-compliant web browser while putting pressure on Google Maps. In addition, Maps as a web service would make it comparable to Microsoft’s Bing Maps, Nokia HERE and other mapping service accessible through the desktop web interface.

The ideal candidate should be familiar with HTML and CSS technologies and have a “proven track record of shipping excellent client-side web applications.”

Apple currently uses the URLs for sharing points of interest and custom locations with other iOS and OS X users, whether they have access to Apple Maps or not. Opened by an iOS device or a Mac, the URL resolves to open the native Maps application.

Visiting the URL in your browser takes you to Apple’s Maps website.

Bringing Apple Maps onto the web is potentially a smart move, especially given many iOS users still use Windows PCs alongside their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. I wonder if Apple Maps for Android is in the cards as well.

The Cupertino firm recently switched Find my iPhone on from Google Maps to their own. Apple’s also been gathering data for its mapping service using mystery vans that have been driving around the United States for months now.

According to the rumor-mill, upcoming Maps changes in iOS 9 include a new augmented-reality feature called ‘Browse Around Me,’ built-in transit directions in a limited number of major cities, indoor maps with micro-positioning, a Google Street View-like street-level photography, trip-planning and car-finding features, more detailed Flyover data and more.

These changes should be outlined as part of the next-generation versions of iOS and OS X, which are slated for an announcement at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference that kicks off with a keynote next Monday.

Source: Benedict Evans