The evolution of Maps for iOS.

When maps for iOS was released in iOS 6, there was no excuse for the lack of consistency in the user experience. Clearly, there was exceptional effort placed into getting the large metro areas processed but ignoring rural areas, a lack of attention to detail, the poor decision to release an unfinished product and the inability to accept responsibility despite being the DRI, Scott Forrestall his job.

During the iOS 6 beta, I had an outstanding user experience with Maps for iOS. Living in Dallas and vacationing in Newport Beach, I was quite impressed with the quality of 3D buildings, the ultra smooth visual progression of the map scroll and accuracy of the turn-by-turn directions.

Then back home in Dallas, the turn-by-turn in 3D with the non-textured building models was equally impressive.

Of course this isn’t what made the news when it was released.  Everyone led with the Golden Gate bridge fail, and completely dismissed the beauty of the application when it’s purpose was utilized: Turn-by-turn navigation. Not only the visuals, but the auditory notifications as well.

Eric Schmidt made sure to remind everyone that ‘Maps are hard.’ That Apple had learned a lesson. I tend to agree with him.

Google Maps is a great product  when the advertising, indefinite data collection for targeted marketing and all the other over-clutter is omitted. In 2005, Google Maps and Earth were the 2 applications on WMx that I could not live without. I spent a lot of time over at XDA, hacking early P-Series HTC hardware platforms like the Wizard, TyTN and Touch Pro ensuring that I had every availability to the .cabs required to run Google Maps and Earth.

Criticism of Maps data is valid  as long as you remain objective in your analysis. Getting map point data can be a daunting task, for everyone…not just Apple.

A side-by-side task specific evolution is a great way to document strengths and challenges of similar products.

Watching how Maps for iOS has improved over the past 2 years has been quite interesting. I’m currently getting the other end of the spectrum as far as update priority, content and accuracy. The terrain is fairly well represented, however. It’s tough to find a more beautiful place than Southern Utah when color and shape of the geological horizon is considered.

Paris, France ain’t looking to shabby either. It’s much more impressive in 720p. Select this resolution in the lower right hand corner of the video window by tapping the icon that looks like the gear.

What I would like people to take away from this is intent of the product. Maps for iOS is a great product. Google Maps is as well. The difference is Apple is trying to create the best experience for the end user, and Google is trying to create a the best engagement scenario so that data points can be collected from the end user.

Some people care about intent and some people don’t. Its not my place to tell you why it should or why it shouldn’t be important. It is important for me to inform you that the philosophy is between these Tech Giants. It can be likened to someone being nice to you because they want to be nice, and someone being nice to you because they want something from you. Some people are just fine with the nice part, others look at the reasons behind it.

Which ever product you choose to use, drive safe!

%d bloggers like this: