A few weekends ago, my friends and I went to a big city to hang out and have fun. Since I was the one stuck with the responsibility of driving, I decided to use Apple’s new Maps app on my iPhone 4S to navigate us around the city to all the places we wanted to go to. Given all the bad hype surrounding the app, I was obviously a little scared that we were going to end up wasting a lot of time going to a number of odd places that we never wanted to hit.
Surprisingly enough, Apple Maps did a fantastic job of leading us around town. In fact, we didn’t get lost even once – and all of the routes on which it led us were ones that I had taken before. To be honest, the only thing that I ever found wrong with Apple Maps is that some of the architecture still looks odd; functionally, however, Apple Maps is up-to-par with any navigation solution that I’ve used.
But that may be the biggest problem with Apple’s Maps: it’s only good for navigation. A lot of places and roads are still misplaced – mostly in rural areas – and the 3D overview gimmick is still far from being completed. And unfortunately for Apple, that’s going to be its undoing.
A Wall Street Journal report from today said that Google is actively trying to submit its iOS Maps app to Apple, and that the app will bring a Google Maps on iOS first: turn-by-turn by navigation. If that becomes true, then I believe that Apple Maps will die.
Even if Apple’s navigation offerings are top-notch, the fact of the matter is that navigation is really the only thing that the Maps app does right. Google Maps has the places, the information, and the higher-quality pictures and renderings that there really is no comparison. And in addition to all of that, the new iOS Google Maps app will also include turn-by-turn navigation, so at this point, there would be no reason to continue using Apple’s Maps.
There is no set date for the release of Google’s iOS Google Maps app, but I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival. Not only will it bring a proper mapping solution back to iDevices, but it will also spur innovation of Apple’s Maps app – which certainly has potential, but is severely limited by a lack of data right now.