By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
You may have noticed when you updated to iOS 6 that Apple has chosen to dump Google Maps in favor of their own mapping utility (editor’s note: there’s speculation that Google may have wanted a higher licensing fee, as this is the year their contract expires), which, to their credit offers the convenient turn by turn directions that Google’s map utility doesn’t do as easily. But, as would be expected from a immature app service like a mapping utility, the first version of this App is simply lacking in serious detail. Will this get you lost? Well, if you consider omitting entire cities from the Earth, then perhaps…
“Within minutes of the launch of the iOS6 operating system, which comes preloaded with Apple Maps, users were reporting that Paddington station had vanished, London had been relocated to Ontario, the Sears Tower in Chicago had shrunk, and Helsinki railway station had been turned into a park.” – UK Guardian
OK, that’s embarrassing. And often, where there is a neighborhood or city, many are seeing a total loss of detail. And that dramatic 3D flyover mode? Has anyone been able to figure out how to get that working? Because so far, I haven’t. No Apple says that 3D is only available in select cities, but even selecting those cities I don’t find it. Now although Apple’s map details aren’t all that great, I do appreciate the giant turn by turn signs that pop up on the map as you navigate. They are much easier to see at a glance. With Google Maps, I had to pick up my phone and look a lot longer, which is dangerous while driving. Often I had to pull over for a brief second so I didn’t kill myself to get the next turn direction (I need reading glasses). So the huge traffic sign directions is a God send to me.
However, all this utter lack of what was hyped by Cupertino is prompting users to long for their trusty Google Maps app, or look into the app store for alternatives. Google Maps executive Dan Cobley says that Google Maps is still available on the iTunes app store. But a cursory search yields no such assurance. Users can download Google Earth, but let’s face it, that’s not going to cut the mustard for route navigation, especially turn by turn.
Now, fortunately, this is only the first version of the app. Google’s Mapping app had it’s growing pains as well. But the questions that are hopping up is … how often will Apple update their app, and in the meantime, will Google be allowed to put their app in the app store like they did with YouTube, which was taken out of iOS 6 as well?
And if not, what are the alternatives? Here’s a few that could be beneficial … Motion GPX Drive is only .99, offers turn by turn directions and the added benefit of being able to cache maps at home before going out. So users don’t even have to be connected to the internet to use them. Waze has similar turn by turn, but will give you Complete voice-guided navigation as well. It uses data collected by other Waze users who may be ahead of you and will warn of traffic hazards, police speed traps, and even pops in with gas prices along the way. Very nice. And the best part, is it’s free. And if you’re a fan of Google’s Street View, I Find View will give you similar first person perspective of a street you’re looking to head to.
So fear not. In time, Apple’s Map app will get better. In the meantime, you’ve got options.