Google Maps vs Apple’s iOS 6 Maps

The iconic Brooklyn Bridge has vanished completely! The beloved symbol of liberty and freedom, the Statue of Liberty is gone! And even Apple’s famous Fifth Avenue store in the heart of New York doesn’t exist!  And you don’t have to rush out to spread this terrible news to everyone in sight. I can almost see you looking out of your window to find the Statue of Liberty, holding aloft the ever burning flame of liberty, safe and very much present. Let me assure you that these strange disappearances have occurred on Apple’s iOS 6 Maps.

It’s true that the sales of Apple’s iPhone 5 have sky rocketed since it release. It’s also true that we can expect the sales to touch astronomical figures in the coming months. But the fact that Apple is at the wrong end of the reviews for its maps is also not far from the truth. Some tech experts and ardent Apple fans are wondering (rather loudly) whether this kind of avoidable fiasco would have been possible during Steve Jobs reign. We can safely assume that he wouldn’t have let this below-par product out of Apple’s R&D department’s doors.

There has been a battle between two erstwhile friends, Google and Apple. When the friends became foes, the battle turned in to a war fought in courtrooms and consumer stores across the world. And now, both these technological giants’ rivalry spilled on to the marketplace with Apple removing Google’s main products, Google Maps and YouTube, from its latest iOS. And what does this mean to both Google and Apple? Google’s Maps huge patronage is from the users of iDevices. With this move, Apple has hit Google right at its core, the Google search. Apple in turn has replaced Google Maps with its own version of maps, the Apple iOS 6 Maps. The iOS 6 Maps apps is one of the most significant and waited-for update in Apple’s iPhone 5. As we were expecting Apple to do what is does best, come out with a product that has more finesse and finish than its competitor, Apple let us down. Apple Maps app is nothing short of a disaster. It looks like an amateur app in a proficient OS.

There have been very vocal discussions and lamentations about Apple Maps app and its many (missing) features. So, we have got down to testing Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app with Google’s Maps.

  • 3D Imaging: Let’s first look at the much awaited 3D imaging feature in Apple Maps. The Flyby mode in the new app shows three dimensional imaging of structures such as bridges and highways and buildings such as the Empire State Building etc. This app doesn’t show these structures in a convincing manner. The buildings and bridges seem to be on the verge of collapse.
  • Landmarks: Apple also seems to have a problem in identifying landmarks. Google Maps are way ahead in terms of accurately identifying landmarks. Apple’s Maps were not able to pin point even familiar and popular landmarks while Google had no problem at all in spotting the exact location of landmarks.
  • Address location: It’s true that Apple Maps look very attractive. Apple Maps work quite well in some parts of the world. But, people around the world are complaining about Apple getting entire locations and neighborhoods wrong as some streets and buildings are completely missing while new buildings have cropped up from nowhere.
  • Street View: The familiar Google Street View that we have grown accustomed to have gone completely. Apple’s flyovers do look nice even though it will take Apple some more time in perfecting this feature.
  •  Traffic reporting: Most of us have been using Google’s traffic reporting system to the tee. And we start driving only after looking at the traffic ahead of us. That’s gone with Apple’s Maps apps. Instead of the useful three color reporting system of Google, Apple shows traffic congestion in the form of dotted lines. For areas which are perennially congested, few dotted lines may not mean much.
  • Navigation information:  The driving information, like the remaining distance to travel appears on the top slot in very tiny difficult to read font.  It’s true that Google Maps also don’t offer exceptional navigation information but they at least have essential information like speed limit, traffic information which is absent in iOS 6 Maps apps.
  • Public transportation information: Public transportation, like the bus schedules, train timings, subway info are gone completely from Apple’s iOS 6 maps. You can no longer rely on Apple Maps to help you out if you are on foot or are completely lost. You can’t find your way to the nearest tube station with Apple Maps.

Google Maps win hands down on every single detail. Google Maps score high in providing accurate information on local searches, searches for famous landmarks, attention to details, and also its information window is easy to use. It’s true that Apple’s Maps apps are not working as they should. But we can be assured that in the next few weeks, Apple’s engineers will be working furiously to make its Maps apps on par with the remarkable quality we have come to expect from Apple.

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