Has there ever been an app that has caused so much of an uproar in the Apple community as Apple Maps? It was released in the fall of 2012 with iOS 6, and it was not received well to say the least. It was so poorly received that Tim Cook even wrote a letter apologizing for the poor launch of Apple Maps which contributed o the firing of Scott Forstall:
At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
Now that we are almost six years into Apple Maps, I am of the opinion that Apple was right, certainly in a post Facebook privacy scandal world, to replace Google Maps with their in-house mapping product. In fact, Google Maps isn’t on my iPhone, and here are five reasons I prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps.
You don’t have to sign in to use Maps. Personalized features, like letting you know when it’s time to leave for your next appointment, are created using data on your device. The data that Maps collects while you use the app — like search terms, navigation routing, and traffic information — is associated with random identifiers so it can’t be tied to your Apple ID. These identifiers reset themselves as you use the app to ensure the best possible experience and to improve Maps. Maps extensions that are used in ride-booking and reservation apps run in their own sandboxes and share permissions with their own parent apps. For ride-booking apps, Maps shares only your starting point and destination with the extension. And when you reserve a table at a restaurant, the extension knows only the point of interest you tapped.
Location data is one of the most private things you can share with someone. I’m not a “tin-foil” hat type person, but I do not want an app tracking everywhere I go.
2. Siri Integration
Is Siri the best voice assistant on the market? Most definitely not, but I also find it incredibly useful in the car. Being able to say “Hey Siri, give me directions home” is incredibly helpful while driving. Unless Apple allows users to replace Siri with a new default assistant (Google or Amazon), Siri will remain the best Assistant for iPhone users. You can also ask for directions to specific places (Hey Siri, give me directs to 123 Main Street, etc.).
3. Apple Watch
In a period where a lot of Apple Watch apps are disappearing, Apple Maps remains a built-in (and useful) feature. When you have your iPhone doing navigation, Apple Watch will vibrate with alerts to turn. This feature also works with walking directions. This feature alone makes Apple Maps an incredibly attractive platform if you wear Apple Watch.
4. Yelp Integration
Instead of having to build a database of company reviews, Apple Maps has Yelp integration to populate data. Yelp has been around for years and has a plethora of great data about local businesses. In fact, I use Yelp quite a bit for restaurant reservations. The integration of the two apps is well done, and a key part of the Apple Maps experience. I’d love to see Apple look into features like restaurant recommendations though.
5. Good Enough Maps Data
If I had to pick a product based on the map data alone, it would be hard to choose anything but Google Maps. They’ve been around for a lot longer than Apple Maps, and are continually getting better. On the flip side, Apple Maps hasn’t given me incorrect information in years. My non-scientific opinion is that Apple Maps data is 85% as good as Google. That 85% is 100% of what I need, and the other benefits of Apple Maps outweigh any negatives.
One final reason I love Apple Maps: it lists if a business takes Apple Pay.
Are you a business owner? You can claim and update your data on Apple Maps Connect. Do you prefer another mapping product? Let me know in the comments.