AP reviews Apple’s Maps: An improvement over the old iOS Google Maps app

“Apple’s new maps app came out the day I started a 2,243-mile road trip through four states. As complaints about it trickled in and Apple’s CEO apologized, I was left wondering whether people were using the same app I was,” Anick Jesdanun reports for The Associated Press. “I know many people will disagree with me, but I even find it an improvement over the old app on iPhones because I now get voice navigation and automatic re-routing. I updated an iPhone 4S in a hotel room in Grand Rapids, Mich., that night and was immediately impressed. It was a nice touch to have turn-by-turn directions narrated by Siri, the familiar female voice from Apple’s virtual-assistant feature.”

Jesdanun reports, “Apple’s map offers 3-D views. That may sound like a gimmick, but it presents the map in a way that mirrors what you’re seeing through the windshield. On Apple’s map, the direction you’re going is on top in the regular view or toward the back in 3-D. Outside of big cities, Google often has north on top, which can be confusing when driving east or south… Apple’s maps are also more pleasant to view. Instructions such as “turn right onto Pearl St.” are in white against a green background, similar to the signs you see on highways. Street names at intersections are in a green rectangle, similar to actual street signs at corners.”

“Apple’s app was mostly dead-on in getting me to my destination. The one big miss was when it had a winery I was looking for about a half-mile east of its actual location. I went to another instead,” Jesdanun reports. “But Google has made mistakes, too. It told me to turn left to get to a lighthouse along the Straits of Mackinac connecting two Great Lakes, even as the road sign in front of me pointed to the right. Then again, Apple’s app didn’t even find that lighthouse in a search… Apple’s app is far better than the one Google had when it first came out in late 2009. In apologizing for an app he says “fell short” of Apple’s own expectations, CEO Tim Cook says the company will keep working to improve it.”

Read more in the full review here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

35 Comments

  1. I updated my 4S to iOS 6 right before I had to take a trip that took me into 6 states. Not only did the new Maps app not make any mistakes for me, but it correctly found places that Google Maps missed on the same trip several months prior. I like the Apple Maps and have been thoroughly impressed. For me, the new Maps app is better than the old; it gives me the same information I was used to getting, plus it added more detailed traffic information as well as the turn by turn directions.

    1. Rock on! No issues driving throughout Flirida and Georgia. I like the Apple maps much much better than Google. I put the web app on home screen though just in case I need a second opinion.

    2. I had one issue in Denmark last week, where Maps gave the wrong point on the map. I reported the problem via the link in the app and now Apple has fixed it.
      Customer service!

  2. It occurs to me, that everyone’s expectations of Apple’s products are much much higher than any other tech company. Because they are cutting/leading edge, whenever they make an error, people make a much much bigger deal of it!

    1. We also demand better quality from Apple.

      We complain about Windows and Internet Exploder at work, but no mass media echo chamber because everyone has low expectations of it.

  3. There you go. The many people that disagree are the iHaters/Google/Fandroid/Samsung/Cloners army of Trolls screaming at the top of their lungs to make noise. They believe that this will convince people to stop buying Apple products. They also believe Apple never innovates or has done anything close to inventing anything. They believe Google/Microsoft/Samsung/Cloners are the ones inventing and Apple is simply copying.

    1. LOL

      Memo to constipated pundits: take a 2000 mile road trip as this chap did, testing Maps. Then, and only then, give us your opinion, unclouded by echo chamber bias and a poorly concealed desire to be acknowledged the tech world’s designated dragon slayer.

  4. I’ve used it navigating through Ventura County, through cities and rural back roads. It’s worked just fine. I haven’t had any misdirections with it where I have had with google maps.

  5. As long as it didn’t give driving instructions to Mackinac Island.

    {
    That’s a joke.
    1) There are no bridges to Mackinac Island, only ferries.
    2) Cars are illegal on Mackinac Island; have been since the 1890s.
    }

  6. I used the new Maps app during a round-trip from Arizona to Montana, and it was superb. I especially like the auto-rerouting, that tracks where I got off track due to my own mistakes, and got me back on-track to my destination. I used it countless times during the trip. It was spot-on.

  7. Got me from South Carolina to Michigan with no problems, good directions, and right to the front door of my hotel. And, it was nice to look at also. My only small complaint, I couldn’t pinch the window down to show a wider field of vision past a certain point.

  8. Same here in the UK.

    Map has worked flawlessly every time we used it. Today,for fun, on the way home from a major supermarket I asked my lovely wife Jess to open the app. It immediately picked up our location and told us how far we were from home, (3.6 miles) and routed us home perfectly.

    Same thing last Friday when we flew out of Stansted. It took us right to the entrance of the Mid Stay Parking – and when we came back this week took it us home safely in the dark of the night..=*^)

  9. There are some things about Apple Maps that are really great and make it better in some ways than anybody else.

    The main problem is with the data.

    About the whole “they launched too soon” and “X person should be fired”: Funny, but while I heard some negative comments while iOS 6 was in beta, I didn’t hear many people saying Apple Maps wasn’t ready to launch.

    It seems to me that Apple Map Error Hunters are really seeking out problems, and Apple will get these fixed soon enough. It seems like Apple had to launch Maps to get this feedback.

    It’s no surprise that were I live (filled with iOS developers and Apple employees), there aren’t many areas of problem or missing data.

    Although I do find it funny that the icon for Apple Maps, showing Apple’s headquarters is actually (technically) wrong itself (showing a left turn off an overpass).

    1. Actually, Apple’s Map icon is stylized, not wrong.

      To go east on the 280, driving northward on N De Anza Blvd, you need to be in the two leftmost lanes (before even reaching the overpass), then (past the overpass) turn left and take the freeway entrance.

  10. I just checked Apple’s map app to look for where I used to live in a rural area north of San Francisco. My car’s navigation and google maps always had the address about 1 mile away from the actual location. Surprisingly, this not only showed the right location, it even put a pushpin right where the house is. Pretty amazing! How did they get it right when everyone else was wrong?

  11. If Cook the apologist would take the time to try iMaps out for a few days, he would know most of the screaming and wailing he heard or read in the news were either grossly exaggerated or outright bogus and that the product was indeed a significant improvement for the great majority of users.

    The weakly Cook instead got scared and intimidated by media hacks and thugs like Joe Nocera, David Pogue, and the like and folded like a cheap suit. The only one who fell short in this case is Cook himself.

    Apple should order a liquid metal backbone and a pair of carbon fiber balls for his CEO.

    1. I disagree that Tim shouldn’t have apologized. This all started because a couple tech journalists, looking for things to complain about, found errors. Because they had nothing else to complain about, they complained about those few errors. In most cases, they didn’t bother to do their homework and compare what they found in Maps to errors made by the competition, they simply bashed Apple. After all, Apple is the king of tech and if you can bash the king, then you generate site traffic. Now I’m going to make a huge generalization here and state that many (most?) tech journalists are lazy. Few bother to actually do critical testing like the site Anandtech.com or research the details like Appleinsider.com and Daring Fireball. Instead, they parrot what they see/hear from other tech sites. Maybe they find another visual flaw in a flyover and let the bashing continue. Pretty soon, as we have seen, it’s a firestorm, regardless of the actual state of affairs, mostly based on a few incorrect, or exaggerated, or biased reviews from lazy journalists trying to generate site hits.

      So what is Tim to do? I think he absolutely took the correct action, regardless of whether the product was actually seriously flawed. He humbly apologized for disappointing Apple’s loyal fans, he vowed to make Maps conform to Apple’s exceedingly high standards, he graciously recommended competing products, and he asked for our help to make Maps the best mapping program in the world. In my mind, home run! He shows that Apple cares. That Apple’s core values are about producing superior products that delight its customers, not simply separating us from our hard-earned coin.

      What has happened since? All of the sudden, reviews are coming out that are saying “Maybe the real situation isn’t as it has been portrayed”. For example, the one above and a great series on Maps by Appleinsider. Folks are looking for themselves and discovering that “Hey, this app is actually pretty darn good”. Also, from what I understand, Apple fans are reporting errors as they find them and the product is improving almost overnight. I think in very short order Map-gate will be history and iOS users will forget google was ever on their phones.

      1. The nice thing is that no update to the new Maps app is needed. It’s all in the data. And contrary to the data used by Google, Apple provides a super-easy way to report map inconsistencies.
        I know, because for suggesting a correction to Google Maps, I finally found and figured out the tedious reporting procedure with their local map data provider, and finally obtained a fix after 3 attempts (each time spaced by 2 months). Eventually, they introduced more errors than they fixed.

  12. Nah, Cook was right.
    Why?

    Because APPLE is the frelling industry leader.

    THEY set the standard and the public has come to expect that standard. Any misstep howls are just screams from haters mostly, because Apple is the company that JUST WOULD NOT DIE!
    For YEARS I heard that Apple was on its last legs and was about to go under, I heard that the iPod was “just a fad”.

    Uh huh, a fad that took the company to the top of the tech industry.

    Am I an Apple fanboy? Yes, to an extent. I don’t give Apple a pass to be evil or sloppy. I want them to BE and ACT the best because they ARE the best.

    Period.

  13. I forgot how terrible Google Maps was at the start. Even recently, it told me to drive through a park and turn the wrong way down a one-way road.
    All the hooha about Apple Maps convinced me to hold off updating to iOS 6. Now I am going to upgrade.

  14. Is apple map available on all os6 iPhones?

    I have an iPhone 4, updated to 6.0 but can’t find the app?

    No big deal if its not, on a waiting list for iPhone 5!

    1. Yes, if you are using iOS 6, you have Maps. It is not a new app, it simply uses the new Apple-provided back end for the original Maps app instead of google’s. They updated the icon a little. It’s the icon that looks like a street map with an Interstate 280 sign on it and a small blue route rising from the lower left front and turning off the icon to the left. Same app as before, new back end. Looks substantially different when you open it.

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