Apple has incorporated a new feed of share bikes and their docking locations into Apple Maps. The feed, sourced from Ito World, incorporates data from 179 cities in 36 countries, and lets you simply search for a bike or station by entering “Bike Sharing” into the app’s search bar.
Ito World made the announcement saying that their data feed is available commercially. This adds significantly to the very limited data Apple had available previously.
However, Apple Maps offers little else other than location. While it shows you where you might expect to find a bike, it doesn’t tell you how many bikes are available at a specific location. So, you could traipse across town to grab a ride but find there bike rack is bare. You’ll still need to use the app for each specific sharing service. I imagine that over time Apple will look for ways to grab that data although why a bike-share company would do that without a significant reward is hard to understand.
And, according to a list of supported countries and cities provided by TechCrunch, only a few Australian locations are supported by Ito World at this time.
In Melbourne, where I live, there are several services to choose from with new entrant Ofo, as well as Melbourne Bike Share, oBike and others, not to mention limited services operating within universities to help students get around campus. Knowing a service exists is handy, but knowing if they have an available bike is equally important.
Apple Maps continues to play catch-up with Google Maps and is closing the gap between the two services.