Feature showdown: Apple Maps for iOS vs. Google Maps for iOS

Apple is replacing Google Maps with its own Maps application. Here's what will change.

As expected, Apple has announced its own mapping solution for iOS 6, featuring real-time traffic conditions, turn-by-turn navigation, Yelp integration, vector graphics, and 3D flyovers. The new Maps app, due out this fall with iOS 6, means the end of the Google Maps-powered app that iOS devices have used since 2007.

For iOS users, this news comes not a moment too soon--many of the features Apple announced Monday have been available on Google Maps for Android for years. Apple's break with Google means the iPhone maker can finally offer significant improvements to Maps on iOS instead of relying on a reluctant partner/competitor to bring new maps features to Apple devices.

If you have an iOS device, chances are the new Maps app will be arriving on your handset, since nearly every popular iOS device in use today (with the exception of the original iPad) is getting iOS 6. Apple introduced the new Maps app during the keynote address at the company's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

Here's how the new Apple-designed Maps app matches up to the old Google-powered one.

The New Stuff

There are several new additions to the iOS Maps app, including a visual redesign that uses vector-based graphics instead of bitmap images. Vector graphics are drawn by the device based on a set of instructions, instead of loaded from a remote server. This change means that it will be easier for users to pan across a map quickly, without having to wait for new map images to load every few seconds. Google introduced vector graphics for Google Maps for Android in 2010.

Apple has also integrated real-time traffic information and turn-by-turn navigation into its new Maps app. There are numerous third-party apps on iOS that offer turn-by-turn navigation, but having a baked-in version is slowly becoming the standard. Nokia has offered this option with its smartphones for some time, and Google added the capability for Android handsets in 2009.

The new Maps app will also include local information for more than 100 million businesses worldwide at launch, as well as integrated Yelp reviews. Apple first integrated Yelp information into the iPhone with the introduction of Siri on the iPhone 4S.

Similar to the recently announced Google Maps overhaul, Apple's maps in iOS will be getting photo-realistic 3D flyovers for major urban areas across the world. However, Google's 3D flyovers are actual images, while Apple appears to be using detailed and lifelike computer-generated models.

The Not-So-New Stuff

As mentioned earlier, Apple will be offering local information for more than 100 million businesses worldwide. Maps for iOS already offers local information, but we'll have to wait for the final product to see if the new Maps app matches up to the current Google-powered local listings.

Apple is also making a big deal about Siri integration with the new Maps app. The thing is, Siri was already integrated with Maps--allowing users to say things such as "show me the nearest coffee shop," and see their results on a map. In iOS 6, however, when users ask Siri for directions to a coffee shop the Maps app will also be able to supply turn-by-turn navigation, instead of just directions. Google added voice command navigation in Google Maps for Android in 2010.

The End of the Road

Apple didn't come right out and say this, but it's a good bet that Google's Street View feature will be gone in iOS 6. Maps will also be losing walking and transit directions, but Apple said during the WWDC keynote that it plans to incorporate third-party solutions into the Maps app for metro transit information.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?