So now that Apple Maps has officially been released to the public for four months, we have had some time to really test out the software and get a feel for what is right and wrong about it. Let me start by saying, when I think Apple Maps, I think GPS. I could care less about a graphical flyover that I have no use for or ever will. I do not see what purpose a flyover of the Statue of Liberty serves me and whether it shows up on the flyover or not. Not to mention I have never even seen the option of how to do the flyover in the app.
One of the most important parts of a GPS is to have accurate information. In the New York/New Jersey tri-state area, I have had very few problems with accuracy, except if you include my home address. Yes, my home address is the only one that Apple Maps continues to fail on day after day, no matter how many times I’ve reported the problem. I have selected “Information is incorrect” and “Pin is at incorrect location.” With the release of iOS 6.1 yesterday, I’ve now reported it with the new bigger “Report A Problem” and as of today, my address still comes up a couple of blocks away. I would think a good first step for Apple Maps would be to listen to user feedback and fix as many of the addresses that users report as incorrect.
As far as the directions it gives me, I have had great success. For places I do not visit very often, I have had great success with the routes it has provided me – better than directions from other GPS’s that I have used in the past. Multiple times I have found new, faster ways to get to a destination that I am not too familiar with. Even my wife has commented that we had saved ten to fifteen minutes on a trip we were expecting to take longer.
One of the most irritating things is the lack of traffic notifications. As a matter of fact, the only way I have seen traffic come up thus far is if I go back to the overview while I’m driving to see if any has popped up. Why in the world is there not some sort of a notification to alert you as you approach traffic? Why doesn’t it give you an option to avoid the traffic? I would think the key to any successful GPS software would be to have a strong traffic alert system. The other thing that bugs me is if you see the traffic in the overview, why does the red go away if you are currently in traffic when you select resume to go back to the GPS? Clearly, there has to be a way they can have an alert or notification of how much longer you will be sitting in traffic and an option to select an alternate route.
Speaking of alternate routes, why is it that if you want to select an alternate route at anytime once you have started your journey, you have to cancel the current trip and reenter your destination address? I know there are many times I have started out somewhere and decide to see what other options are available to me. I know I cannot be the only person who wishes to do this. I know when I had Google Maps on my Rezound (my old alternative to my iPhone), it was quite easy to change your path once en route. I have downloaded Google Maps for my iPhone since I no longer have the Rezound, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why this feature has been removed from Google Maps as well.
My last wish for Apple Maps and any GPS for that matter would be to offer a trip report. I have yet to see this feature anywhere yet, but I know there are often times I would like to check the details of a trip. For example, how long it took, how many miles I’ve traveled, average speed and so on and be able to look back at your trip history at anytime. This feature would clearly put Apple Maps ahead of any other GPS out there.
For me, despite my few gripes with Apple Maps, it definitely gets a thumbs up from me, but without a doubt there is room for improvement. With all the changes going on over at Apple, I look forward to seeing the first major upgrade to Maps and see what they have in store for us. As for when that will be, it is anybody’s guess, but I’d imagine we will see a nice update coming in iOS 7. Stay tuned as I take a look at Google Maps for the iPhone soon!