Apple Maps review: Apple Maps

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.6
  • Installation and Setup: 8.0
  • Features and Support: 5.0
  • Interface: 6.0
  • Performance: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Apple's Maps app finally has functional turn-by-turn directions with voice. 3D Flyover views are very impressive in supported cities.

The Bad Generic search terms bring up inadequate results. Many locations we tested lack details. Flyover produces strange visual bugs when browsing some areas. Public transit directions are no longer part of the app.

The Bottom Line Apple Maps now has functional turn-by-turn navigation and gorgeous 3D Flyover features, but lack of public transit directions, shoddy details on maps, and distorted 3D views in some areas make this app mostly unusable until there's an update.

Don't Miss

Coming as a part of iOS 6, the Apple Maps app has received a lot of bad press for good reason. Out of the gate, Apple's replacement for the Google-powered Maps app in iOS 5 has a lot of problems. Simply put, this app is not an upgrade over the last version of Maps.

Turn-by-turn directions
One feature that many people have been waiting for on iOS devices is now here in Apple Maps: turn-by-turn directions with voice. Using the Siri assistant as its voice, the app performed adequately in our testing on the streets of San Francisco. It delivered us to the place we wanted to go, and the voice directions gave us plenty of time for turns with few problems. The app had some hiccups when it came to rerouting, attempting to send us back to our original path rather than giving us a route on the new direction we were traveling (though it corrected itself soon after). It also had a problem with the difference between two contiguous streets with slightly different names (e.g. Broadway and West Broadway) -- a small difference, but important when you're traveling in a new city. Still, the turn-by-turn directions performed well overall, but that's not all there is to a mapping app.

Location search and map details
Where the Apple Maps app is lacking are in search and map details. In our testing around our offices and when viewing well-known landmarks, we found several locations that turned up almost no details, where Google Maps showed much more useful information. As an example, a plan view of the San Francisco International Airport showed only the three main terminals, where on Google Maps you get shops, restaurants, services, and even an interface element that lets you switch floors within the terminal. The app also doesn't do well with generic searches like "coffee" or "pizza," giving some results, but nowhere near what you see on the Google-powered maps in iOS 5. We often don't compare an app directly to another in a review, but in this case, Google Maps is what was on the iPhone in iOS 5 so a direct comparison is fair.

No guidance for public transit Another feature lost with the new Maps app is trip planning that includes public transit. Where you used to be able to get directions with the option of viewing the best route via bus, train, or otherwise in iOS 5, in the new app you're only given a list of apps currently in the iTunes Store that might help you. This is a huge oversight because a large number of people use public transit (or they should) and leaving these features out of the app means environmentally responsible travelers are out of luck.

Don't Miss

 

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Where to Buy

Apple Maps

Part Number: http://www.apple.com/ios/maps/

Free with iOS 6

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Navigation and maps
  • Compatibility iOS