The iOS 6 portion of Apple’s WWDC keynote last week was headlined by its all new mapping software. As predicted, the company unveiled a completely rebuilt Maps application with 3D city views and other features.

The app is available in the recently-released iOS 6 beta, and so far, it has yet to impress. On top of missing popular features like Street View and transit directions, it also appears to be missing a ton of street data.

But don’t count Apple’s Maps out just yet…

For full disclosure, I have been mulling over a post regarding my opinion on Maps for the past week now. I too haven’t been impressed with the application, as it has yet to locate my home address, among other quirks.

But it’s important to remember that Maps is still very much beta software. And perhaps nobody makes a better point of that than The New York Times‘ Quentin Hardy, responding to early criticism of its lack of data…

“Hold on there. Not only do Apple maps have months before they debut, Apple could, if it wanted to, come out tomorrow with much this information on the maps. All those street names and landmarks are part of what Apple licensed from TomTom, the Dutch company whose maps Apple was showing. For some reason, Apple apparently removed much data off the maps as a step to make something bigger.”

So why is Apple witholding all of this information? Hardy continues:

“Maybe it was skinning data off the map as a head fake, a way of lowering expectations Apple will then exceed. More likely, the company is still working out all sorts of different mapping images, which will change depending on whether the map is being used for shopping, social activity or navigation. Or perhaps it didn’t want developers to have many preconceptions about what a map should look like, so they invent new things.”

The bottom line here is that there are a number of reasons why Apple could be witholding data and other features from the Maps app in iOS 6 beta 1. And it’s never fair to judge beta software based on its content.

It’ll be interesting to see what Maps looks like when iOS 6 is released to the public this fall. With all of this talk of third-party app integration — think Foursquare, Facebook, Foodspotting, etc. — the possibilities are endless.

What’s your take on the new Maps application?

  • I ported 3d maps over on my Iphone 3GS and I think it’s pants
    3d maps is just gunna be another Siri that just don’t work in the uk at all
    Lost my 4s so had to downgrade so not sure if to change to Samsung as apple says sod uk

  • unknown

    rephrase…new apple maps is a crap…apple moving backwards

  • d5th

    lol apple sucks ballsack. GOOGEL FTW

  • Solowalker

    It’s different and may take some people some time to get used to. Most people saying, “It’s crap” are likely just saying that because they’ve been using Google’s Maps for years and are averse to giving something new a serious try. Different ≠ crap.

    Some data that’s “missing” isn’t really missing, it’s just not shown until you zoom in more such as smaller street names. I’ve seen some people comparing Google and Apple maps asking, “Which would you rather use?” I think they’re trying to say that Google is throwing crap tons of data at you and that’s better than Apple’s minimalistic approach. But I think I’d have to disagree with that and I think Apple’s maps are much more attractive and could prove to be easier to use because they focus on the important things like major streets, landmarks, parks, etc. and not trying to point out every single little thing you could possibly see. I’ll need a lot more time to use Apple’s new maps to see if that translates to good utility, though.

    But again, that’s part of what a beta is for: to get a select few people’s feedback on the product in real world usage. They could (and likely will) very well adjust the map data based on developer feedback. To what extent they do so obviously remains to be seen.

    • QuarterSwede

      This article is misleading. I live in a smaller larger city and iOS 6 maps works as well as Google maps ever did in the city and in the boonies.

      So far Siri has routed me on routes that were the truly quickest way and not necessarily the most traveled path. The only thing that would make it better was for it to know the light cycle times.

      I find that navigation is the best I’ve used out of GPS apps and certainly standalone units (crap these days). It only shows relevant streets (who needs to know streets not on the route?) and is very clear about where to turn. Also, the more you zoom in the more information it shows. People poo-pooing this rewrite haven’t used it much and it shows.

      So far the only thing I miss is street view. Everything else is better about iOS 6 maps is better.

  • Google Maps is a powerful platform, and seeing Apple leaving it completely behind, it’s very surprising. Hopefully The new maps comes out in the final version complete and awesome. I really can’t wait to see how the turn by turn directions works in Houston traffic. And a jailbreak on realease, please? <3

  • It’s gonna be another beta selling point like Siri but without advertising it TV as still in beta.
    So is it only working in the major cities in Anerica at the moment?
    When will it work in Asia? Or any other continent for that matter?

    • It already covers most of the earth excluding North Korea and part of Sweden

      • Where did you get this info? Have you ever tried to zoom in Brazil? The biggest city here, São Paulo, has nothing but some green zones. No street names, just the states delimitations. This is true for all the latin america. So far, for us, it is useless.

      • There maps have been out for only a week and a half give them a chance I’m sure brazil will be mapped soon completely

      • According to the history of Apple with our country, I really doubt it!

      • Have to been to most of the earth?

      • Sharknoms

        What about the poor people in the rest of Sweden ?

    • Well said

      • How can something be “well said” if it makes no sense at all?

        This user has proven twice that they can neither spell nor combine enough words from an English dictionary to form sentences.

      • Shut up. Since iDownload started using disqus it’s been totally crap for typing a comment from my iPhone.

      • So you’re blaming your iPhone for things like “Have to been to most of the earth?” or were you just too lazy to check what you typed before you pressed “Post”

      • The reply window is absolutly tiny and doesn’t scroll up to check the text you just typed. So no, not too lazy. Next?

      • That does not excuse your apparent failure to check what you are typing before posting it…iPhone Safari comes with a zoom function, perhaps you should learn to use it before posting incoherent replies so stop blaming the device and take some responsibility for what you are typing.

      • Did you understand what he meant? I did. What is your problem? If English is not his mother language (neither mine), he at least tried to express his position. You should try to find better arguments to discuss with him.

  • While I prefer the look of apple 3D compared to google 3D, the integration thus far seems a bit lame. As a user in Japan, the lack of public trans info and no 3D support yet available here makes it seem useless. The loss of street view also turns me off a lot. I imagine perhaps the TomTom integration may make up for that in the final versions, but at the moment iOS6 seems like apples usual methodology. Set out an theoretically impressive base release, and then roll out the truly significant features in later 6.XX releases

    • Apple is literally downloading Terabytes of data to its servers every seconds on there maps, 1,000’s of businesses are being added every minute there data base is expanding rapidly, I’m sure Japan will be covered in detail fully by October 🙂

  • JamesR624

    Oh come on. How long will people go along with the “beta” excuse just so they can get out of admitting that their “awesome company” is going down the shit hole? Apple is NOT improving maps and going backwards JUST to spite google. They are NOT trying to “improve” maps. They just cobbled together a bunch of services into a half assed app (much like all their other apps on both OSX and iOS. Yes Ive used both extensively back when Apple wasn’t shit) and did JUST ENOUGH to get the “oooh, shiny” people to buy it.

    • Martin

      You are seriously a retard. If you think labeling software as beta is an excuse for half-assing something then I really question how “extensively” you’ve tested their stuff.

    • You must be off your MEDS! Google had gmail in beta for 6+ years. The fact that you speak before you know the whole story shows how dumb you are. Apple as a company don’t mess things up often. Wait till it’s done before you shit on them, I’m sure you haven’t done anything demanding lately, but things do take time.

      • Thank you so much piper! Couldn’t have said that any better

      • however, what can iPhone 4 users say when they are left behind without 3d view. I guess it will be better for them to use old good google maps.

  • This, will definitely be worth checking out when it’s out of beta 🙂 but my iPhone 4 can’t because it’s not natively supported :/ well, I’ll wait for a jailbreak release that combines Spire + Maps 😉

    • You can jailbreak an iPhone 4 tethered with redsn0w and install 3denabler to enable 3d on your iPhone 4

      • yeah I think 3denabler is available on iphonetweak repo only for now.

  • d5th

    apple sucks big fat cock so android is so pro shit

  • I tried to get directions from Kingston, Ontario to Chicago. It couldn’t give me directions for some reason. Does anyone know if this is because it doesn’t function, at least so far, its directional assistance internationally?

  • So apple’s first attempt at maps on a beta seem to workish from what I tried with it it was ok.. But it is a beta that the end user should not be using… And I wonder how many of those people who are bashing it are just end user’s who just happen to get a beta thinking it was going to be the dogs bollocks…
    It’s a beta for delvopers to use…

    • Finally.
      Someone with enough intelligence and smarts to work out what’s really going on.

      Bravo sir.

  • Who says we are leaving apples BETA maps out, I think they have done a excellent job, Steve would be proud

  • MadAndronicus

    I will be downloading google maps from the AppStore.

  • Biggest disappointment is that it does not have transit directions. That’s the only thing I ever use the maps for anyways.

    • Biggest disappointment is that it’s in beta, would you like me to post the dictionary meaning of beta … unless there’s information you know that I do not.

  • Apple’s Map app is gonna be a hit, and there’s no doubt about it.. Irs just the first beta and you can’t really judge it.. And moreover it makes sense that Apple IS withholding data ON PURPOSE, cuz think about it, if Apple’s missing that much data in the final release, it’d be a step backwards.. And Apple only goes forward

  • Roni Isometsä

    iPhone 4 & iPhone 3Gs do not support the iPhone OS 6 on a map on navigation

  • KikaidaO1

    You know what would be awesome? If Google submits a maps application to the App Store! With added functionality like the Android app!

  • SimonReidy

    All I can is the new Maps looks “alright” and there are some decent new features, but I’m definitely worried about lack of international capabilities. Until I can test how well it compares to Google Maps in Austalia, it’s obviously hard to to give a logical opinion.

    I’m not sure anything could make up for losing Streetview though. I use it all the time and losing that functionality will be a big step backward. I’m also unimpressed that I won’t get 3D or turn by turn on either my iPad2 or iPhone4. Lack of 3D rendering power I can understand on the iPhone4, but given my iPad2 has the same CPU/grahics as the iPhone 4S, there’s no good reason not to give it 3D maps (or Siri for that matter!). And turn by turn is basic as hell for phones to handle (I’ve had it since first getting TomTom on my old iPhone 3G!). No good reason for Apple to leave turn-by-turn off the 3GS and 4.

  • Sharknoms

    I would rather have Street View than 3D maps.
    Apple could have kept this Google feature
    Hope there will be a Google maps app in the app store

  • Brouhaha

    Screw Street View and all the gimmicks. Transit info is what we need in NYC and other big cities in the US (and the world most likely). Being able to see the stations on the map is priceless to me. When Apple mentions 3rd parties for transit data, do they mean users will have to open a dedicated transit app and leave the Maps app to view?