Whilst firing up Apple Maps, my wife proclaimed that “It has gotten better”. For me, this was a little too hard to believe. The App had such systemic problems when I had first tried it a couple of months earlier. It seems since my initial analysis Apple have snuck a 0.1 update past me.
So with some hesitation I quietly fired it up. The search seemed to have improved to some degree, though it still prefered to send me half way around the world, rather than the next suburb over.
Hot tip for Apple: Take into consideration the users current location when performing a search on ambiguous terms. Order by proximity.
Once the destination had been entered, immediately the App kicked into gear with true automatic updating turn-by-turn navigation. Directions announced clearly, and surprisingly accurately by the navigator.
There also seemed to be a more tactile response to the movement made by the car. I’m guessing this was an improvement to the GPS polling rate and potentially use of the accelerometer.
The location marker has more than doubled in size, making it much easier to follow. As well as your current location clearly displayed bellow.
The App then goes as far as to make improvements on Google Maps.
When switching between Apps you do not loose touch with the high priority navigation task at hand. It remains at the top of the screen at all time.
Furthermore I remember painstakinly taping the screen whilst using Google Maps to avoid the screen locking and loosing my navigation window. Now Apple maps continues to display this information clearly whilst locked. With turn-by-turn instructions being announced as needed.
It is also worth noting that the use of 3D gives the user an improved sense of context.
It is clear Apple jumped into gear very soon after the maps backlash begun. I have been informed that changes to innacuracies in the maps are also dealt with within a 24 hour period. Though, all of this begs the question. Why were these issues not addressed prior to launch. I think now more than ever Apple understands that it is not untouchable. Users will revault if quality is not delived. I think in the long run Apple will have learnt a lot from this saga, and users will benefit.
I’m mostly just pleased to have my GPS back.