After a flubbed introduction that caused downfall of an Apple exec and a rare apology from the CEO, Apple pressed on and got their Map app right. At least, I have found it accurate and useful in my first few tests. The most obvious change is the way satellite views of my city are rendered in 3D. It’s quite engaging to fly over and around buildings as if you are in a helicopter.
The detailed view (above) shows a friend’s street in pretty good detail. When Google recorded his house for StreetView, a diaper truck happened to be going by, obscuring his front door. Apple has had better luck.
One critic said he thought Apple’s 3D view was fun once, but not as useful as StreetView, because he was usually at street level, not up in the sky. True enough and I agree that StreetView is very useful if you are looking for store fronts, access to parking lots, etc. But I don’t agree that Apple’s approach is pointless. It’s great for getting the “lay of the land” and a sense of how things fit together. It also has potential if you want to know which lane to use when you approach a highway onramp.
I wondered if I could have answered my question about a staircase to a footbridge that crosses the Don River. Answer: Yes. I could see exactly how the stairs went up from the bike path. Better than Google Maps on that one.
Now I have to figure out how to embed Apple Maps into web pages and emails, the way you can with Google’s offering.