The Inside Story on Apple Maps

CNN scored a nice interview with some of the Apple Maps leadership about the journey they’ve been on and where the app is now. (I found this interview via 9to5 Mac.) I wish Apple would let their project leaders talk to the press more often. Articles like this let us get a better understanding of the philosophy behind choices in Cupertino and help us make better decisions as consumers as to what is right for us. For instance, I didn’t realize how big a deal Privacy was to the Apple Maps team until reading this article.

As for me, I’ve been using Apple Maps for a long time. I like the convenience of it and I’m fortunate enough to live in California, where I think Apple has historically always had pretty good data. It has performed well for me or I wouldn’t have stuck with it. That said, I really only care about accurate directions and navigation help, like telling me what lane I need to be in. All that stuff about the 3D maps of buildings is something I never looked at until getting the image for this post. It’s nice, but I don’t have much use for it.

Apple Maps/Google Maps Comparison

Justin O’Beirne updated his Apple Maps/Google Maps comparison from last year. This is the most thorough comparison of the two products I’ve seen. One clever trick he did this year was run monthly screenshots giving you a sort-of time lapse.

Reading the article, Google seams better. I’ve been primarily using Apple Maps because of Siri integration but I’m going to run Google Maps for the next month to see if it makes any difference for me.

Apple Maps in 2015

Poor Apple Maps. It has been the whipping boy of the Internet for several years. Here is my favorite shot at Apple Maps from last season’s Silicon Valley.

For the first year after Apple Maps released, I kept Google maps on my home screen. However, after that Apple Maps improved enough to work for me. Moreover, the killer feature with Apple Maps is the Siri integration. I can be driving down the road, press the button for Siri and say “get directions home” or “get directions to Hippieland Granola Factory” and Siri does the rest of the work for me. It looks it up, opens the location in Apple Maps, and then initiates directions. This has saved my bacon plenty.

I still think this is a function of where you live. With me being in California, I suspect the Apple Maps problems got fixed a lot sooner than it would for someone who lives somewhere more remote. Nevertheless, if you gave up hope in Apple Maps, you should go look at it again. How-to Geek just did a comparison of the two services and found Apple and Google maps were a lot closer than they expected.