Those who know me will know that I am a critic/sceptic of the apple iProducts, not because I think they are bad or inferior but because I think they are a bit too conservative and dull. In September Apple launched the much awaited iPhone 5 to truly mixed reviews. For the first time since the original iPhone, the mass of public opinion was on my side. Apple seemed boring. But it was with the iPhone 5 that I started to appreciate the iPhone. Sure it wasn’t about getting bigger flashier and faster like Samsung SGS3 but it was about refining an already good product, with the goal of producing the optimal smartphone, not just the one with the most impressive statistics. I like it, it’s the first iDevice, I genuinely like.
But in September they also dropped a massive clanger! iOS maps, what a disaster. I cant say exactly what was behind the wrong thinking that cause Apple to break its ties with Google Maps and go it alone on the mapping front, I would suggest it was pure arrogance but others might say that they genuinely thought it through but got it wrong. None the less, it has been a disaster for apple and massively embarrassing, some iPhone users have been placed in mortal danger by iOS maps. Heads have rolled.
As of this week, Google Maps is back on the iPhone. Hurrah! Actually Google’s products have been a little flaky recently, the reliability of Google apps must be called into questions however the new iPhone app goes a long way to restoring faith in the Greatest internet brand.
What’s new in Google Maps?
Voice turn by turn navigation and automatic route recalculation. (okay long been a feature on the Android app and some say a flashpoint in the Apple/Google war)
New sexy voice 🙂 (it matters more than you think!)
Route avoidances options and live traffic information
Public transport information (I have not tested this feature, I cant say how well it works with the UK’s interesting public transport network.)
The maps are now vector based providing a faster and more fluid experience than before, also a little prettier.
For developers, there is a new API which in short will enable web and app developers to have their mapping links fulfilled by Google Maps rather than iOS maps.
Google, we are glad to have you back! Now sort out Chrome’s reliability issues please.