It looks like Apple is getting into the GPS business. Currently in the preview stage, Apple’s iOS 6 includes a new feature called Maps that could give navigation software companies like NAVIGON a run for their money.

By the time Apple releases the new iOS 6 in fall 2012, the Maps feature will include extras like a 3D perspective map and flyover views of “major areas.” Apple will use data supplied by companies like Tom Tom and Waze instead of Google Maps. Besides a map, users will also have turn-by-turn navigation and real-time traffic information. If an accident or construction has blocked a route completely, Maps will recommend an alternative route and recalculate the distance and time it will take for the user to arrive at his destination.

Given the popularity of iPhones and iPads, having a feature like Maps embedded in the new operating system would make buying a navigation app unnecessary and could cut into the bottom lines of navigation software companies.

According to Steve Kovach in his article for Business Insider, navigation software companies might have less to worry about than Apple-philes are letting on. For one thing, certain features, like the 3D view and flyovers, won’t work on older Apple devices. They only work on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and new iPad. Turn-by-turn navigation is also limited to select new devices, says Kovach. Because it no longer uses data supplied by Google, Apple’s Maps feature also lacks a street view.  Information about public transportation will come from other sources, too.

Because iOS 6 is still in beta format, Apple will, of course, continue making changes and improvements. Whether or not adding the key features that Maps currently lacks will be among them remains to be seen.

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