Apple’s Maps app has been maligned as inferior from the day it launched. After investing billions of dollars, Apple is launching a new and improved Maps.
By Chand Bellur
January 30, 2020 at 1:39 p.m. PDT
Apple Revises Maps
It’s been the butt of jokes, even being ridiculed on HBO’s hit show, Silicon Valley. Although the day Maps launched, it was actually better than most in-car or standalone navigation systems, it wasn’t as good as Google Maps. For this reason, Apple’s nascent mapping application was maligned as inferior, mostly by people who never used it.
Mysterious new accounts opined about Maps on Apple’s Support Forum. Supposed Apple users complained that Maps ruined their business in only three days! A few publications raised the point that, although Apple Maps wasn’t as good as Google Maps, it was a completely viable navigation system. The rest of the media embraced the hype, rolling around in it like pigs in mud.
Google Maps also had its fair share of follies, including a Central American incursion caused by a software error. No one cared. Bugs in Google software are not newsworthy, unless they’re extreme and egregious. Sometimes, even extreme and egregious defects are ignored.
Apple took the criticism to note. It was part of the reason why rockstar engineer Scott Forestall was forced out of Apple. The Cupertino company has since invested billions of dollars improving Maps, as it’s central to any modern-day technological ecosystem.
Improvements to Apple Maps
Apple Maps has undergone a complete overhaul, with new, advanced features that are arguably superior to Google Maps. Most notably, Apple has done the hard work of gathering data on the ground, using a fleet of mapping vehicles. This greatly enhances mapping accuracy, points of interests and public transit data.
Apple Maps still pledges to protect personal privacy, unlike competing products. Their business model centers around devices and services, not selling customer data.
Look Around, a new feature reminiscent of Google Maps Street View, offers users the ability to virtually drive through a city. For now, the feature only works with a limited number of cities, however, it seems to have more detailed imaging than Street View. Apple haters are destined to cry foul, however, Look Around seems like an improvement on Street View.
Apple has packed dozens of other new, innovative features into Maps. Public transit, flight times and even one-touch navigation to favorites are just a few of the new features. For more information, please read Apple’s press release.
Too Little, Too Late?
Most iOS users I know, including me, either use Google Maps or Waze. I have used Apple Maps and it gets me to my destinations without a problem. It’s just that Google Maps is (was?) better and if they’re both free, most people will just use the best option.
If you haven’t used Apple Maps in a while, it’s a good time to try it again. Make sure to update iOS, then update the Maps app in the App Store, if automatic updates are disabled.
Apple invested a lot of money and effort into improving Maps. It’s likely better, but whether it’s worth abandoning Google Maps remains to be seen. If privacy is a concern, Apple Maps may be a better option for you. For most people, Google Map’s maturity may have them sticking with the devil they know.