During today’s keynote at WWDC, Apple announced that significant updates to the iOS Maps app were on their way with iOS 6’s release this fall. These new features were sorely needed, as the Maps app began to fall farther and farther behind the competition. It seems that Apple is set to rectify the situation by […]
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How Maps in iOS 6 Compares to Android’s Map Offerings

During today’s keynote at WWDC, Apple announced that significant updates to the iOS Maps app were on their way with iOS 6’s release this fall. These new features were sorely needed, as the Maps app began to fall farther and farther behind the competition. It seems that Apple is set to rectify the situation by offering some new features comparable to Android’s offerings. Let’s take a look at how the two competing OSes stack up in regards to maps.

Search with Voice Input

Search by voice

Google Maps Navigation (beta) allows users to search for their destination using voice input. This is very cool, but seems to be a little formulaic, as the user has to state “Navigate to…” each time they search for directions. With Siri, along with Apple’s new Maps app, it seems that voice input is a little more conversational.

Both iOS and Android’s offerings seem to include search for businesses along a selected route. For example, if you’re on a road trip and realize you need gasoline, on either platform you can search for the nearest gas station along your route.

Traffic

Traffic Traffic view

Maps on iOS and Google Navigation seem to handle traffic information with ease. Both show traffic based on your current route, and if things are slowing to a stop, both systems offer the option to reroute you around traffic. Very cool.

Alternate Views

 Satellite view 

Flyover

Here is where things really begin to diverge. Apple for instance, offers a 3D maps option called “Flyover”. Everything here is vector based so it scales quickly when altered by the user. On the other hand, Google has Street View, and satellite views. Yes, iOS does have a view similar to Street View, but it is not populated with real life images as Google’s is. Both platforms are offering similar features, but each with their own take on the idea.

Turn-By-Turn

Turnbyturn

Both Maps on iOS and Google Maps Navigation offer turn-by-turn directions. On iOS, the Maps app speaks to you as you approach a turn, and if you miss the turn, quickly reroutes you on the fly. Google Navigation also has voice assistance, and both offerings have visual cues for when the user is to make their next turn.

Other Odds and Ends

Google does seem to offer more, smaller, features than Apple at the moment. For instance, Google offers public transit navigation in over 400 cities around the world, as well as walking navigation. There are also perks such as “Car Dock Mode” which recognizes that the Android device is being used in a car, and slightly rejiggers the interface to accommodate usage at an arms length away from the user.

Summary

It seems that both Apple and Google’s forthcoming maps and navigations technologies are, overall, pretty compatible in features. As always, it seems that Google offers more, but Apple has the fit and finish and overall appeal. It will be interesting to see what this healthy competition bares for us all in the coming years. As of right now, it seems that things are only just heating up.

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