Apple, Cloud Computing, Companies, Software Programs

iOS 5: Fantastic Maps, Voice Navigation and Ustream, Foursquare on Steroids


An upcoming fifth revision to Apple’s operating system that drives their mobile devices should bring major improvements to the built-in mapping application and introduce new cloud-centric features stemming from the company’s refreshed MobileMe online services suite. Sources in the know have stepped forward, sharing new information about a live video streaming service akin to Ustream, a location-based check-in system similar to Gowalla or Foursquare and a geo-tagging solution codenamed "Tokens" that should let users tag their location, like Facebook Places.

Apple is apparently considering a revamp of MobileMe that should enable a personal page acting as a webserver in your pocket dynamically updated with information on the iOS user’s activities. Cult of Mac explains:

The webpage will collect a ton of information that is automatically uploaded from an iOS device, including the user?s location, photos they?ve taken and video they?ve shot.

It will also detail music they?re listening to, games they?re playing, applications they?re using, music and apps they?ve purchased, web sites they?ve visited, status updates, and so on. Users can even send live video to their page, much like the live video-streaming service Ustream.

All those improvements should stem heavily from MobileMe and perhaps pave the way for a rumored memory-less iPhone nano believed to stream your media off the cloud. MobileMe, Apple’s $99 a year online services suite with a pretty web interface, could become 100 percent free of charge or at least provide core capabilities for free while charging for the premium features, such as cloud storage.

Apple could also be on the verge of replacing or at least augmenting some Google services in iOS with their own solutions, namely Google Maps and search. Recently, Apple snapped up search assistant Siri, music startup Lala and mapping startup Placebase for the reasons unknown. In addition, we know they want to take the iPhone’s Maps app to "the next level."

"This year, with iOS 5, Apple will put their purchases to use," 9to5Mac speculates and Cult of Mac agrees. Authors Mark Gurman and Seth Weintraub explain that iOS 5 could enable cloud locker for music and put forth Apple’s own full-fledged voice navigation service and a superior maps application with turn-by-turn navigation, satellite imagery, 3D buildings, etc.

If all of the above plays out as described, we’re wondering where this leaves Google and its services that now power important features of Apple’s mobile operating system. Whichever way you look at it, Apple has been buying interesting startups left and right and it’s in their DNA to reduce dependencies on third-parties – especially Google. Besides, not having to rely on Google’s backend could let Apple update core iOS apps like the Maps app more frequently.