Since Apple released its latest mobile operating system, iOS6 on September 19, there has been one thing users have been talking about more than anything else: Maps. And it isn't good.
After announcing that Google Maps would be getting the boot in the latest iOS release, users can now use Apple's Maps app built into iOS 6. Unfortunately, users who have been putting Maps through its paces over the past day have not had very favourable things to say about it. At all.
From poorly rendered satellite views to directing someone looking for a taxi to a taxidermist, the new Maps app has fallen far, far short of what Google Maps is capable of doing. Other users have found that Maps is missing cities, turned Ireland's Airfield Park into an 'airfield,' and has even inspired someone to make a Tumblr highlighting some of the many gaffes coming out of Maps.
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Gizmodo did a side-by-side comparison of iOS6 and iOS5, pitting Apple Maps against Google Maps, and the speed and detail that Google Maps can provide is nowhere near matched by Apple's alternative. And that's not saying anything about Maps lacking any public transit integration, which has made Maps an extremely poor alternative to Google Maps for those who don't drive.
So, if you've already upgraded to iOS6 or are going to be getting an iPhone 5 and don't have a choice in mobile operating system, we've put together a list of some alternatives you might want to consider while waiting to see if Google Maps will ever get a third-party app for iOS6.
Best known for its GPS units, Garmin has just updated its smartphone app with its new Urban Guidance mode. This includes public transit options like trains, buses and water taxis, and even includes a Last Mile mode for navigating the final stretch you have to walk from wherever you are in the city to where you parked your car. They've also included a street view, which some Maps users may find they are lost without. As The Verge points out, access to some of Garmin's features can be quite pricey, but many people still swear by their subscription to Garmin's services. You can also try the app from another GPS giant, TomTom.
If "free" is more in your price range, you may want to consider Waze, a social GPS traffic app. The community generates real-time traffic information, so you can avoid major accidents and traffic snarls and get re-routed to a more pleasant drive home. There are certain regions in Canada where Waze doesn't work quite as well, as some reviews complain about it being a poor choice in Saskatoon, and there's no support for Waze's cheap gas finder outside of the U.S., it seems. But if you're looking for a more in-depth mapping experience than what Apple's Maps can provide, Waze may be worth checking out.
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If you live in a major metropolitan area and are transit dependent, you may want to consider The Transit App. While you will need to pay for a subscription if you want the full features (which range from $0.99 for one month to $4.99 for the full year), The Transit App connects with transit agencies in many major cities across North America, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Halifax and Saskatoon in Canada. This app has been updated to work with iOS6's Maps, so the gap left behind by Google Maps might hurt a little less for transit users.
You can see a sample of the new Apple Maps (and one person who actually seems to like it) here:
(AP Canada photo)