It looks like Apple is preparing for a future where iPhone owners get around on electric bikes as much as cars, public transport and regular bicycles.
This much can be surmised from a few lines of new code spotted in the Apple Maps app, suggesting a new feature for e-bike route guidance is in the works.
Spotted by Steve Moser and shared on Twitter recently, the code includes the phrase "Optimize routes and ETAs for powered bicycles".
It looks like Apple Maps will have e-bikes as an additional option within the existing bicycle directions filter. This will likely provide a route best-suited to bicycles with electrical assistance, with steeper inclines that are easier to tackle when there's a motor helping out with your peddling.
With fuel prices on the up, this is likely a good time for Apple to offer e-bike directions, as drivers look for alternative forms of transport that are cheaper than running a car but require less effort than a conventional bicycle.
We would expect to see Apple integrate e-bike route guidance with the Apple Watch too. This would be especially useful for commuters looking to get around an unfamiliar city, or take an alternative route that they might have found too challenging with a manual bicycle.
We would also like to see an option for telling the app which model of e-bike is being used, or at least what its theoretical range is. That way, Apple Maps could recommend a route knowing how much of the e-bike's battery will likely be consumed, and how much effort the rider will have to put in for themselves.
All of that said, it doesn't look like this feature is ready to be rolled out just yet. And since it wasn't mentioned as part of Apple's upcoming iOS 16 software, due out for the iPhone this autumn, we wonder if it'll turn up a little later than that.