Sep 24, 2012

Apples To Oranges

As someone who is frequently driving to unfamiliar locations and who relies on an iPhone based GPS to get himself there, I have to say that the new Apple maps program is quite an improvement, particularly in terms of the graphics, which make navigating while driving a lot simpler.

The problem, for Apple, is that the program it's quite an improvement on isn't Google Maps, which it replaced, but rather TomTom USA, which is the company the app is based on.

While Google maps on iOS is a wonderful thing, it didn't work like a GPS. If you wanted step-by-step directions, you needed a co-pilot: you had to both read and advance the app yourself.

That's why so many iPhone users went out and bought GPS apps like Tom Tom and Wayz: they allowed you to use your phone instead of a unique GPS device to access a program where a robotic voice read you directions as you drove.

That was the hole Apple was likely trying to plug. What they seem to have overlooked was that lots of people used Google Maps for things other than driving directions. Like walking directions. Biking directions. Or just browsing their current location to figure out what was close by.

In other words, from a user standpoint, the new Apple Maps was a GPS replacement app. Not a Google Maps replacement app. Hence the angst over Google Maps disappearance.

It's not that Apple Maps is a bad app. It's got great features like Siri and search integration. It's just that it doesn't do what GoogleApps did.

Not even almost.

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