The new maps, outside of the US

At WWDC this year, Apple introduced iOS6 which will be released this fall. Part of iOS6 is a new Maps.app which will no longer use Google’s data. While watching the keynote I was already quite sceptical whether their own service will be working as well as presented. I was especially interested in the results it will show in Germany.

I now finally had the chance to test it: I installed iOS6 on my old 3GS and compared the results to Maps on my iPhone 4S running iOS5. Obviously, 3D flyover won’t be a part of the comparison as the 3GS does not support it. However I will make some guesses how well it will work.

Comparison

Note that the following screenshots show a farily large city in Germany: Cologne.

First search result:

Maps-1_medium

Now zoomed in to show the same area:

Maps-2_medium

Satelite view from far away, works on both. Maps-3_medium

Zooming in however, iOS6 does not have any images to show. Maps-4_medium

Back to map view, we see far less detail in iOS6. Looks a lot cleaner, but for my taste this is not enough. Also, it does not seem to know any stores or other POI. Maps-5_medium

Zoomed in even further for a look on Kölner Dom: Maps-6_medium

And again, no satelite images for iOS6 Maps-7_medium

Something not possible in iOS5 however is clicking on POI and getting information by Yelp. Sadly, Yelp is not very popular here.

Maps-7a-ios6_medium

Now we are zooming out again, to compare traffic information. As it seems, there is none to show in iOS6 right now. Maps-8_medium

In a smaller city, Aachen, I tested walking directions. As you can see, the results are not the same, but quite similar. But again, a bit more detail on Apple’s new maps would be nice.

Maps-9_medium

Conclusion

All in all, this is a step backwards. I really hope Apple will polish the app for the final release in fall, but I doubt it will be as good as Google maps was. There is no way Apple will get the detailed satelite images. This will also mean: no 3D flyover anywhere in Germany. As I do not use satelite view often this is not a really big issue for me. But the standard map view is also inferior to Google’s. There is just less information. When I search for a local store or POI, Google knows it, Apple doesn’t. Apple has very few locations and nearly none of them has information from Yelp, since it is not really being used in Germany.