iPhone 5 (white, three-up, Maps)

When Tim Cook wrote his open letter last September, apologizing for the quality of the new Maps app, he said that Apple would work on it non-stop until it lived up to its incredibly high standards. And it has been.

Though it hasn’t garnered much media attention, Apple has made a number of improvements to its Maps app over the past six months, including adding Flyover support and 3D building images to several new cities…

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple lists 30 cities from around the world that either just received Flyover support, or gained expanded Flyover coverage in the last few months. He also names the 12 latest cities to get 3D buildings.

But it doesn’t stop there:

“In addition to all of these changes, Apple has updated city labels in cities worldwide and improved satellite imagery in a number of countries. Other updates include location information for Apple Stores, businesses, movie theaters, restaurants, airports and transit stops.”

I’ve noticed that Flyover support has greatly improved in the Portland, OR area over the past few months, and sure enough, it’s listed in Dalrymple’s report. To see if your area has recently received some Maps love, click here.

Apple has also been extremely active on an international level as well. Earlier this week, it pushed out an update to the Maps app in Japan, with better turn-by-turn directions and UI. And it’s recently done the same in China.

Personally, I’ve never experienced any issues with Apple’s Maps. But I know a lot of people who have, so it’s good to see Apple working so hard to improve it. I like the way they’re doing it too: quickly, quietly and effectively.

That’s not to say that it gets off scot-free though. Maps was clearly launched prematurely, and Apple’s been paying for it ever since. In addition to the wealth of public criticism it has endured, it’s also said goodbye to two top executives.

How has Apple Maps been working for you lately? Notice any improvements?

  • Still no good… Flyover and 3D is still a bit useless when you can’t get hospitals and airports right! Right now where I live, google has updated street view that now works in even remote areas! While apple maps still says there isn’t an airport or a hospital… So much for doing it “quickly and effectively”

    • Ben

      The difference is, Apple Maps hasn’t even been around for a year yet.

      • David Villamizar

        So Apple should have kept Google Maps as the default app, and launch iMaps as a beta extra application

      • So they launched in beta and with tons of problems. The problem is, they already had a system that worked… In areas where even the basic doesn’t work, they should let the customer (me) choose which maps to use: apple or google. Instead they removed one, forcing me to use their service that simply doesn’t work, and give me no good alternative.
        Since I also don’t live in a high density population city in Europe, I truly believe that years can go by and they won’t improve it. They are busier updating flyovers and 3Ds that are pretty much useless in everyday life instead of improving street information that is what really matters when using a maps service.

  • It all comes down to what you use maps for. For me the main use is looking up businesses for location and phone numbers. For this Apple Maps still suck. A search for Tesco (the biggest supermarket chain in UK) from my home address brings up a store 8 miles away as closest. A check on Google Maps and there are 11 stores closer than this including 2 in my home town!

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    G Maps still rocks…. m/

    Every city here is like 10-20 km of the original place or have wrong name!!!!
    I reported to Apple all the things that I saw wrong 6 months ago! THAY FIXED NOTHING!
    I’m so disappointed in Apple maps I deleted it, it’s unusable, and the satellite image is in back and white!!

    • keep calm man !
      Apple Maps hasn’t even been around for a year yet.

      they are working…chill.

    • David Villamizar

      I understand your anger, it’s frustrating that they spell bad my city name, and no matter I reported, the issue remains after the release of iOS 6. I can’t use navigation, I can’t use any location based service since it gets wrong the city name because of the miss-spelling. We should all sue Apple for taking away a service that used to came with the devices we bought (I bought an iPhone 4 that worked perfectly with google maps), if they take down such important features, they should allow users to downgrade through iTunes.

  • I too have to say that Google Maps is still much better for finding businesses and so on. Apple Maps doesn’t find very much. I use the Maps to navigate me in my car and Apple Maps works great for me in that Case. I haven’t had issues once in Germany.

  • Apple Maps has been great for me ever since updating to iOS 6, by way of evasi0n! Perhaps it’s been greatly improved since its initial release. In any case, I’ve found Google Maps to be less than ideal in comparison, even with their recent Google Contacts integration update.

  • I love Apple Maps. I live in NYC and it has never steered me wrong. I find it to be extremely accurate in determining my exact current location unlike Google maps which always gets me lost because it is slow to catch up to my exact location.

  • JomanJi

    Is it just me who actually like the apple maps, I mean, I have not had any problems with them. The only thing I’d love to see apple implementing is turn by turn navigation and all that stuff to older iPhones I.e. the iPhone 4

    • I’ve had ZERO issues with Maps and use it on a daily basis.

  • I can’t believe Bettendorf, Iowa still isn’t on here! (I only kid)

  • one thing that hasn’t sold me with apple maps on my iPhone 4 is that the google maps has turn by turn, and apple maps does not. Although on the flip side apple has my saved addresses from contacts and dropped pins while I do not currently have a google account to save those sort of things. If Apple could just happily toss turn by turn to all pre A5 devices I’d be a happy man once more.

  • Stuart Henderson

    I’ve recently lost the ability to do the 3d flyover stuff – I just get the dull grey blocks in 3d, it was the only good bit of Apple Maps

  • Tomsky

    Apple Maps is still useless over here in Europe. Glaringly blatant bugs, mis-spellings and wrong namings and locations aren’t corrected anywhere even if being reported repeatedly (talking France, Italy, UK and Germany here). The POI data base around here is absolutely atrocious, outdated and full of errors (wrong locations, wrong contact information). Satellite imagery is pathetic.

    The whole thing just qualifies as a still flawed GPS for automotive use where you aren’t particularly interested in map detail rather than getting from A to B. As a “map” application it utterly fails as there’s almost no other relevant information but the road grid. No information about built-up areas, open and forested land, little about water bodies. The sparse bits of topographical and geographical information that are there are usually as wrong as the POI information; i.e. turning the entire southwest part of Germany in a “park” and drowning it completely in green. Including major cities and townships.

    Whenever I look at Apple Maps in Europe it somewhat gives me the feeling that this application is sloppily slapped together by some software compiling miscellaneous and sometimes not so good data base sources without any final quality control by humans. But exactly those remaining 10% of refinement through costly humans make the difference between sub-standard and competitive GIS-products in the digital world. Ask Google about their learning curve!