Apple revealed its own map application yesterday, previewing plans to drop Google maps when iOS 6, its new mobile software, goes live later this year. The new map application appears to be a competent substitute, but it’s missing a killer feature. There are no transit directions baked into the maps. For anyone who takes buses or trains this is a punch in the stomach.
(We live in New York City and use the subway directions every single day. When we’re travelling on trains out of the city we use the transit directions.)
Apple says it will let third party developers provide transit directions for its maps. It says third-party developers do the best job with transit directions.
That’s a mistake. Apple is giving up ground to Google and Android with Apple maps. Without transit directions baked in, Apple Maps is an inferior product to Google Maps.
It’s not enough to drive people away from iOS to Android, but it’s a feature Apple should have included.
This, annoyingly, is how Apple rolls. It releases an app, or product, with the core functions in tact. Then it gradually adds extra features. (Think about the first iPhone being released without an App Store, or copy and paste.)
We expect to see transit directions added next year. For the first year of Apple maps we’re going have to deal with a pain in the butt third-party solution.
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