Apple wants you to use its maps app, now in 3D
Apple is adding more detail and accuracy to its maps app in an attempt to lure users away from Google Maps or Waze Maps. The latest iOS and maps updates bring a detailed urban experience to a handful of major cities, as well as better 3D views and reportedly better route navigation on complex highway overpasses. I'm looking at you, Dallas.
However, I don't know if these new features will steal users away from the ubiquitous Google Maps or community-driven Waze. According to CNN, the head of product and design at Apple Maps shared some of the significant changes they believe will make Apple's native apps more competitive:
So what's new about this 3D approach over accurate maps? Well, the devil is in the details. When you use your iPhone to navigate somewhere, you'll notice that you see the details of the road lanes more clearly. Lanes are accurately delineated -- with road markings -- and intersections show pedestrian crossings. This not only helps with accessibility because you know these elements are there but also extends to knowing what channels you need and how to get there properly. More clearly, you'll see the right elevation when you're driving on complex highways with surface roads and intersecting overpasses.
That's good news for those who drive on certain highways where even modern navigation apps can be frustrating due to the complexity. Houston and Dallas come to mind, and even when I use my phone to navigate, I still often worry about missing exits or changing lanes while driving through those cities.
According to CNN, Apple CarPlay will benefit from new features and 3D views, which will eventually appear on the in-car interface with a series of updates. Many of the usability upgrades DESCRIBED by CNN relate to features THAT I don't think anyone's ever used -- like FlyOver and Guides -- so it's good that CarPlay is getting some attention as well, because that's where we can notice the difference.
Waze is still probably the best app for traffic jams. Google Maps is everywhere; I'd even guess it's the default navigation app for most people, no matter what platform they're on.
The map is a different kind of service, and Apple isn't going to wait for a hit to come out or buy out a company to provide a perfect service. It's a rare case where the company has been playing catch-up.