For the rest of us, Apple Maps works rather well, but it’s not the only maps app around. One of the bigger maps players in the industry beat mighty Google and brought their maps to iOS 6.
Maps: Simple, Blue, And Free
Just between you and me, I don’t have much of a problem with Apple’s Maps on my iPhone. It’s faster than Google’s maps, caches maps better, and the turn-by-turn instructions are good.
Apple’s Maps don’t have public transportation, but that’s easily remedied with an app that’s dedicated to marking bus and subway routes.
We’ve heard that Google is almost ready to launch a Google Maps version for iOS, so it will be worthwhile to compare all these maps choices.
One of the more highly touted map makers is formerly-smart-phone-giant Nokia. Their maps app is called HERE Maps and it’s available in the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
Visually, HERE Maps isn’t as busy as Google Maps or many of the maps apps on the App Store. It’s clean, elegant, fast, and, well, blue. That’s the theme color for almost everything.
HERE Maps features understated navigation between map views, but does come with public transportation, a live map view, a satellite view, and a clever option to save map areas for location where you may not have internet access.
HERE Maps’ satellite views are good, though seemingly more weather prone (clouds) than either Google Maps or Apple Maps.
Specific places can be organized into collections which can synced to a Nokia HERE.net account and viewed anywhere.
Locations can be shared on your iPhone through iMessage, Mail, Twitter and Facebook.
The voice guided walk navigation is different, and probably good for anyone visiting a tourist or historical area.
HERE Maps features public transportation but I wasn’t able to get it to overlay with the basic maps. It seems as if it’s a separate map. The app screen is clean and uncluttered. At least until all the nearby location pins begin to fall, and then it’s instantly cluttered.
That’s the last of the good news. HERE Maps is very slow to load on an iPhone. Buttons are buggy and sometimes don’t work.
Some countries don’t even have street names. The turn-by-turn navigation pales in comparison to Maps on the iPHone. Pinch and zoom works only the center of the screen. You can’t rotate the map as you can in Apple’s Maps app.
HERE Maps doesn’t seem to support Apple’s Retina display iPhone and iPad so images appear less than crisp. I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Many of us were expecting more from Nokia. Apparently, it’s difficult to do accurate maps because the world is in constant change and there doesn’t appear to be any business model that supports apps.
Why is HERE Maps free? Advertisements. Apple has nothing to worry about.