Apple has a couple of new patent application with the USPTO (via AppleInsider) that details what could be its solution for providing transit directions. The patents describe something that resembles a combination of the apps it has acquired it this space, including Embark and HopStop. The system would offer comparison of a number of different commuter options, including buses, shuttles, trains and subways, and further describes the potential inclusion of airplanes, boats and helicopters for true universal commuting perspective. The system could also easily support transport options like Uber among its possible methods.
The system mainly describes a list-based routing solution that populates options nearby in a table, using your location information. You can also select locations you want to check and alter times to see what your options will be at that place, at various points during the day. It’s all designed to update in real-time as you continue your journey, giving you the best options at any given moment. Basically, it sounds like it should work similarly to any good transit app out there, including third-party options like Citymapper and the Transit app, as well as options like Google.
There’s also a provision for a Map view, which means that you can see routes overlaid on a graphical map, just like you would in Google Maps. Favourites options would let you save planned routes for later, and there’s also an option to view routes side-by-side to help you plan based on convenience and speed.
Overall the system is described as a “commute assistant,” but it seems like it provides all the bones necessary to build a full-fledged commuting navigation solution directly into Maps. Apple has been redirecting users looking for public transit directions to third-party apps since replacing Google Maps as the stock navigation app in iOS with its own solution in 2012.