My Experience with iOS 6 Maps

Transient

People have been piling onto Apple lately over the whole Maps debacle, but I wanted to give it some more time on my own before I came to any conclusions. After taking a trip out-of-state and relying entirely on Apple Maps throughout, this is what I've come up with in terms of odd behaviors:

  • At one point, when I asked for directions from my current location to a restaurant, it displayed the green pin for "Current Location" in an entirely different place from my actual location, marked by the little blue dot.
  • Siri likes to give weird directions, even going so far as telling us to make a u-turn further down the street when we're already pulling into the parking lot of our destination.
  • You can't scroll around map during turn-by-turn, like you can in Waze. You have to tap the screen for the controls to appear, tap the "Overview" button, scroll as needed, then tap "Resume" when finished scrolling. I'm very much a visual person, and I like being able to see the different turns that may be ahead of me, so I have a better idea what lane to be in after each turn.
  • When approaching a toll zone on the turnpike, it kept ordering me to "stay to the left" even when I was supposed to temporarily exit so I could pay the toll. Obviated by common sense of course, much like many of these other issues, but I could see this getting some people into trouble.
  • I had to submit an error to Apple because our hotel was entirely missing. It simply could not find it by name or display it on the map, although I could type in the address and that worked.

Overall, I think that Apple Maps is a good experience, albeit with the quirks that one might expect from a new service that absolutely depends on user input. The map data is obviously not going to be at the same level as Google Maps for a while, but with hundreds of millions of possible corrections being submitted to Apple all the time, people will eventually get over their initial hatred of the service.

I love the new vector graphics, they're much cleaner than Google's old map tiles. The turn-by-turn stuff is well-designed too, and when it works, there's no smoother experience in my opinion. Just wait until the data is there to back up the beauty on the surface, and Google will finally have a competitor in the mobile maps space to contend with. At least one worth talking about, that is.