Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
I’ve been testing the beta version of Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 6, all week. One of the features I’ve been testing the most is Apple’s new Maps app. That’s because Apple decided to ditch Google Maps and go with a bunch of other companies like Tom Tom and Waze.
(By the way, there seems to be a lot of confusion about this. Apple has always made the Maps app on iPhone and iPad. It wasn’t a Google app. Apple just used Google Maps data for the app.)
In short, I don’t think the new Maps app will be as good as the current one that uses Google Maps data.
- There’s no public transportation data. Instead, Apple will rely on third-party developers to fill in public transportation information like subway times, bus stops, etc. With the current Maps app, you can easily get this information from Google. You don’t have to install a separate app.
- There’s no Street View data. Since Apple ditched Google Maps data, Street View is gone. To make up for it, Apple added something called Flyover, which are gorgeous photorealistic 3D maps. Unfortunately, Flyover only works on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and new iPad.
- Turn-by-turn directions don’t work on older iPhones. It’ll only the iPhone 4S and new iPad will support turn-by-turn directions. This was a killer feature a lot of iPhone users were waiting for. Unfortunately, many of them won’t get it.
- The new iOS maps don’t have as much information as Google Maps do. Gizmodo has a really good demonstration of this. Google Maps does a much better job at labelling streets, landmarks, and businesses than Apple’s new Maps app does. You simply get more information from Google.
In almost every instance, the new iOS Maps is downgrade from the current Google-powered version. Yes, I know Apple will make Maps better over time. It does that with all its products. But I’ve never known Apple to take an existing product, strip it of some key features, and then start building it up again. Bizarre.
Maps is arguably one of the most important apps on the iPhone. And it really looks like Apple is going to screw it up this time.
Don’t Miss: Screenshots of the new Maps app in iOS 6 >