If you’re an everyday maps user, you’ll know that this technology is crucial to your daily commute. In the past few years, technology has becoming an increasingly popular addition to the driving experience. From the ever-popular online driving courses to digital maps, technology has changed the face of driving forever.
That’s why Apple’s release of its own map app has caused such an upset. Beginning with the iOS 6, Apple phones will no longer have Google Maps but will feature Apple’s own map application. Shortly after this development, Google announced an update to its own maps to keep things competitive. This raises one important question: which map is the best?
While Apple is marketing a different product, it seems that they have taken a couple of pages from Google. Apple’s map features a turn-by-turn navigation style that is identical to Google’s. The application also uses a traffic viewer to help users see faster routes and uses traffic reports to change routes that have slowed due to traffic. While all of these features are nice, they are also the standard that Google Maps has set.
One thing that Apple lacks, however, is an option for travel by public transportation. This is a large weakness that alienates a large section of Apple’s urban audience, so why did they choose not to include it? Well, most cities offer their public transportation routes through GTFS, or General Transit Data Feed. While this service is completely free to use, it was also engineered by Google, which is likely why Apple will not be using it in their own application.
Apple should get a leg up on Google thanks to Siri, right? Siri is able to provide users with information like where to find nearby restaurants or gas stations as well as an estimated time of arrival.
While Siri has become a popular feature of Apple products, it functions very much like a normal GPS in this regard. While Siri is a solid addition to Apple’s map application, it does not do much more than any other GPS app on the market.
Both Google and Apple have a feature that allows users to look up local restaurants and businesses near them. Apple does have a particular edge in this area, though.
Apple’s search not only shows the basic results, it also includes Yelp reviews. This means that Apple users can read reviews of various restaurants before deciding to go anywhere, which is a major plus in terms of convenience.
Bird’s Eye View
The newest innovation has been for map applications to offer a bird’s eye view of a location. Google recently added what it calls “Tour Guide,” while Apple refers to its program as “3D Flyover.”
In short, these features do virtually the same thing. They offer a view of a location from above to help in navigating the area. There is a slight performance difference in Apple’s favor, however.
Apple’s 3D Flyover offers much more intense details than Google’s Tour Guide, and the images are created in real-time without sacrificing stunning visual details.
Given Apple’s history, it is no surprise that the company has an edge here. In the past three years, Apple took over several mapping companies, two of which specialized in 3D modeling. With these new acquisitions, it is logical that they would offer a better 3D service than Google.
It is impossible to deny that Apple took a lot of the amazing features from Google Maps without really altering them at all. From turn-by-turn navigation to classic search features, Apple functions in much the same way as any traditional GPS application.
There are some differences, however, and they are worth taking note of. By not including public transportation, Apple’s map feature will likely be far less useful than Google Maps to users who live in large cities. On the flip side, there are other areas in which Apple excels.
Apple’s 3D rendering of a landscape is ideal for anybody planning any kind of road trip and offers far superior navigation compared with Google’s. For this reason, Apple wins among consumers who find themselves traveling a lot.
Each application has strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately the victor is decided by personal preference and unique user needs.
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