iOS6 Release Date: Users Hate Apple Maps App? Google to the Rescue
To say the reviews of Apple's new Maps app have been mixed would be kind. While Apple's iPhone 5 may be one of the best reviewed smartphones in history, the company's new Maps application, which replaces Google Maps, has already sparked heated criticism from users. However, according to a new report, Google is planning to offer up its Maps application to iOS users.
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With over 200 new features in Apple's iOS 6 update you might have glossed over Apple's re-branding/ imagining of its Maps application. For its latest iOS update available for download now, Apple decided not to renew a contract with Google. That means no more Google Maps or YouTube -- the apps will no longer come pre-loaded on Apple's smartphones. Instead, the iOS 6 features a totally new navigation app called Apple Maps.
Google is reportedly working now on an app that will be available through Apple's App Store, according to The Guardian. That app will likely deliver the same Google Maps experience users had in previous versions of iOS.
Apple sent waves of geek panic through the tech sphere earlier this year after announcing that it was removing Google Maps from iOS 6 and replacing it with its own Maps program. After iOS 6 launched earlier this week, Apple's software was quickly criticized for a host of errors and omissions, including missing cities, duplicated islands, and more.
Google working on a Maps application for iOS 6 makes perfect sense. However, what doesn't make sense, are the scores of reports across the Internet that suggest Apple already has the Google Maps app and might be slow to approve it.
That suggestion came from a tweet sent out yesterday by developer Steve Stroughton-Smith, who said that The Guardian's report "suggests they've heard that Google already submitted a Maps app to coincide with iOS 6." The developer then added a "yep," seeming to indicate that Google had, in fact, submitted the program to Apple. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple yesterday responded to that claim with a simple "nope," hinting that his sources have said Google hasn't submitted the program.
What's intriguing about this is that The Guardian's report doesn't outright say the app has been submitted to Apple. Actually, all the newspaper says is that Google is "preparing" the app. The report goes on to say that there might be "questions over whether Apple will approve it in the App Store," but that provides no evidence that the application has even been submitted to the iPhone maker.
Apple site 9to5Mac chimed in on the confusion, saying that its sources have confirmed an updated version of Google Maps is "awaiting approval" from Apple.
Maps: 'The Good'
According to T3, Apple Maps' 3D mapping, map rotation, and Flyover features are all great. They also liked the extra screen length because while it only gives turn-by-turn navigation in portrait, it's still an advantage over the iPhone 4S. The bigger screen also means you can fit more map on screen, with the direction tab sitting at the top, leaving a decent amount of space for the road you're on and your surroundings.
Walking and bicycle routes can also reportedly be plotted. Voice directions are basic but clear, though it doesn't seem to utilize its traffic feature to route you around black spots to your destination.
Engadget was impressed in general with Apple Maps' beauty and fast handling, saying that using the app was a "very aesthetically pleasing way to get from place to place."
Allthingsd liked that the app offers free, voice-prompted, turn-by-turn navigation, one huge advantage over the iPhone version of Google Maps. The site said Apple's navigation worked very well, with clear directions displayed as large green highway signs.
Maps: 'The Bad'
Apple Maps will be one of the iPhone's most polarizing talking points. According to T3, even with some nice features the functionality of the app's search was reportedly "hit and miss in terms of finding London locations."
Apparently, Apple's new app displays more road names than place names, and does away with color-coded roads, so, navigating to a specific point using pinch and zoom is much trickier.
Engadget thought the app wasn't nearly as comprehensive as Google's offerings on Android. The site said the app's biggest drawback was its lack of public transportation directions, so if you haven't mastered the subway yet, you won't be getting any help from the iPhone 5.
And while asking for subway directions doesn't work particularly well, according to Engadget, the app actually does offer public transportation directions. However, if you choose that option it shoots you straight into the App Store with a search for "Routing Apps," a search that currently has zero results.
Engadget also notes Apple Maps' lack of a detailed layering that you can apply in Google Maps and Google Navigation, and shows you whatever you want to see. Maps will list some important places of interest -- mostly gas stations and convenience shops -- but if you want to see all Italian restaurants on your route you'll have to dig deeper.
While Maps does show traffic, Engadget says it never saw it give a warning about traffic along a route currently being navigated.
Allthingsd says the app is a step backward from Google Maps. Apparently, while Apple's maps feature a 3-D "Flyover" view of some central cities, they lack Google's very useful ground-level photographic street views. And while the site thought Apple's maps were accurate, they reportedly tend to default to a more zoomed-in view than Google's, making them look emptier until you zoom out.
T3: "It's not bad for a free service. Maybe we'll get used to it. But, as it stands, we prefer the old Google Maps"
Engadget: Love the look and feel of using Apple Maps, but many, many drawbacks to the app's functionality.
Allthingsd: Says Apple Maps is the drawback to the iPhone 5. Likes the turn-by-turn voice-prompted navigation and not much else.