Apple Maps In iOS 6 Look A Bit Rubbish In The Real World

It's tough to tell someone that they have an ugly baby. They think it's the cutest thing that's ever existed but sometimes it needs to be done. Who's going to be the one to tell Apple that their new Maps baby is ugly (if this comparison screenshot is anything to go by).

This screenshot of Kings Cross in London posted to Reddit overnight shows the difference between Google's Maps and Apple Maps. As you can see, Google Maps (pictured right) shows a rich amount of detail, right down to railway lines, river branches and side streets. Apple Maps (pictured left), however, show only a handful of streets at the same location.

We don't know if there's just a few layers or labels that haven't been turned on in this screenshot, but if this is really what it looks like when iOS 6 goes gold in a few months, it'll be a platform deal breaker for many. [Reddit]

Image: Reddit



    I find that posting an article about honestly BARELY beta mapping is pointless. Write a real article instead of finding little nitpicky stuff with mapping software that is still very much in infancy. Google Maps once looked like this, if you want the same detail go get the Google Maps application when it's released.

      No it didn't. Google Maps has improved a lot since it first launched, but it was never this bad.

      Except now Google maps will be reproducing Apple provided functionality and will be denied a place in the app store...

        Nah, it'll get in easily, because it's hard to reproduce functionality to something that doesn't function correctly.

      Indeed, Bing maps is not as good as Google Maps, but I have to say I'd prefer the first Bing maps to what is shown here for Apple maps.I'm sure it'll get better as it goes it, but I think they dropped Gmaps to early.


        Are they not using Open Street Map Data? Or was that for something else?

          ? Apple used open street map data for iPhoto. Which is kinda useless for streets in rural Australia. ?
          Apple is going to use Tom Tom for mapping in iOS 6, which is SENSIS, so the mapping data will still be the same (Google also uses Sensis as of ~2 years ago). So the maps will look different since the same Sensis data will be presented by TomTom instead of Google.
          Bing maps now uses Navteq data which is pretty good in Australia. In rural areas Navteq is much better than Sensis.

      It dosent really matter that gMaps used to look like, this is what is replacing it. Therefore you want something of, if not equal quality, better quality in other areas.

      U mad bro?

      Being barely Beta isn't a great defence when this will be rolling off the shelf in a couple of months. Apple has been working on this for years and have now made it available for anyone who has paid for developer access to have a play with. The beta defence doesn't really fly that well. besides, criticisms now is what will lead to changes before release.

      That said, the map is quite zoomed out. Most solutions add details as you zoom in. I'd like to see it at various zoom levels. If you were driving then 90% of whats on that Google map would be a redundant distraction anyway.

    It looks like one of the worst things Apple's releasing in some time. Hopefully people will still be allowed to keep google maps on their IOS devices.

    Isn't there maps just TomTom rebranded? I read somewhere that TomTom is helping or just using their maps

      A previous giz article pointed out the TomTom connection, but theorised it was just the turn-by-turn navigation that used TomTom tech. I'm pretty sure the maps aren't TomTom (at least, they seem to look quite different, but I haven't looked at a TomTom map in a few years)

      That is it exactly. Tom Tom looks crap.
      So it's not Apple's fault re design, but it is their fault for choosing to ditch the good Google option for this hasbeen GPS company.

      Google and Tom Tom both use SENSIS data for their maps in Australia. Tom Tom has less POI's so we lose out in Australia (same mapping data, less POI's).

    Yeah they will...... Just don't go to IOS 6

    Yeah I think when Google release their own Maps app it will do very very well. Very worried that Apple's business listings will be nowhere near as comprehensive as Google's.

    Flyover will never, ever be used by anyone. Nav looks great though

    its not ugly, "its the new innovative simplistic imaps look and feel that you will grow to love and find to be better then anything else, its the way maps should be" or some rubbish along those lines that make it seem like a "map-olution"

      Provided you never need to go anywhere that is not located on an interstate.

      This changes everything, again.

    i'm running ios 6 beta on my iphone 4 and must say the maps app is shocking compared to google maps. the maps looks ugly and it doesn't even have half the features and details like what google maps use to have.

    Think I'll just stick with iOS5 for a while, works fine for me. Maybe there'll be a jailbroken hack/app that lets you use the old maps? That would probably make me jailbreak for the first time ever XD

    I wonder if google will be allowed to put their Maps application into the App Store now..

      Excellent question. Are there any mapping apps in the App Store now (not turn-by-turn navigation apps, but apps "confusingly similar" to the stock app)?

      Also wondering if the turn-by-turn navigation apps will be allowed to stay, once Apple's version is released. How strict have they been on their "confusingly similar" policy as of late?

    Well I would certainly hope we can keep the old Google maps app.

    The current maps app is by Apple so that will certainly disappear. Question is whether Google can create and publish their own. Otherwise there is always browser-based.

      I wouldn't put it past Apple to automatically redirect to open up the default Maps application

    the one on the right is the ugly one.. and if I am navigating in my car.. I don't want to see the million google streets.... also in iOS there is how many layers do you want to see..

    please check facts before posting stories... your base an article off a screen shot... really??

      Yeah, I agree with Normandy. I want my maps to look aesthetically simple not to be usable!

        Normandy, no matter the zoom level the shapes of the streets and waterways are incomplete in the left picture. Your base an reply off stupidy… really?

          This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      If you are navigating in your car you shouldn't be looking at the screen... you should be listening to the voice give directions....

        iOS users couldn't do that. It's a revolutionary feature of 2012.

      Maps and navigation are 2 separate things in Google. You want there to be less detail in nav but a lot of detail in Maps. This is a maps screen, and is far too sparse. Having said that, it is beta so everyone needs to relax.

      To all those hoping Google maps will be available, Google stated just the other day that all functionality available on Android will be available on all platforms in the coming weeks. I assume that also includes windows phone too. That includes voiced turn by turn navigation and their new 3d maps and offline maps.

    nothing stopping you downloading the free google earth on you iPhone.... !

    I don't understand the article. The iOS6 maps has exactly the same details. Apple/Tom Tom have decided no to clutter the maps and only show only a certain amount at each zoom level. All the same streets and landmarks are all there, they are just dulled out for that zoom level. I think the biggest killer is street view. Most people I know use it to confirm a location before travelling.

      The google one is much more detailed. Look at the shapes of the river, look at the train tracks etcetera

      There is far less detail and information (both symbolic and explicit) in the Tom Tom map. The only similarity is the shape of the roads.

    The keynote seemed so good.... Im hoping that this is just because it is beta and they havent "flicked the switch" so to say....

    If its that bad come release time I may be not hitting the *update* button as I use Maps quite extensivly.

    hmmm....whats wrong with the classic melways?? $30 available at any newsagent and petrol station plus it never needs to be charged!!! sat nav is great and all but what happens when the zombieclipse hits and all the services we take for granted disappears :)

      I'll tell you what's wrong with Melways: wherever you are and/or wherever you want to go always seems to be in the dang difficult to access bit near the spine of the book.

        How about the Melway iPhone mApp?

        Personally I prefer the Melway to either of the above digital maps, I just like the design of the maps and the level of accuracy I've found to be better than UBDs and Google. But that's just me...

        The Apple maps look absoultely horrible, it's like they're trying to get a kind of hybrid driving/detail map layout and doing nothing well. (Please, at least use different colours for main roads! It's been a feature of road maps since forever!)

    So they're using Tom Tom it seems?
    The same technology that sends so many (admittedly stupid) drivers off into lakes etc?
    I take aim at Tom Tom only because they'd be one of (if not THE) biggest mapping outfits in operation and therefore the most likely to be the one misdirecting all comers.
    See ya'all in the lake Fanbois :)

      Bad drivers are what direct cars into lakes, not GPS units.

    Luke your article based on conjecture over screenshots is silly. I have been using Maps today 'in the real world' and its a really nice improvement over google maps.

      I hope you're right Markd.

        I have one here on a developer preview... what he said.. and what I said all day... ! an article based on a screen shot is STUPID!

        The only thing thats annoying me is the 3D rotate feels clunky on iPhone screen, and I'm suspecting I will miss street view, but the actual look and feel of the 2D maps is great (plus the much improved business listing works well)

      Would you say a "clean" interface,? "Magically", "revolutionarily" clean?

    I too am running the beta on iPhone and it's the worst map design I've seen. I'd rather go bing

    I too am running the beta on iPhone and it's the worst map design I've seen. I'd rather go bing. It's missing streets, no details on map view, the turn by turn navigation is crap if you want to properly see your end destination and it must be old maps too because it's missing a lot of streets that google has. It's a deal breaker because I use maps for work a lot..

    If you are trying to find a location as a point of reference, then most maps will suffice. The above, will just be a leaked beta for sure. Even looking at the 'screen shots' of the 3D cities should be somewhat of a reassurance that this is not a final release.

    The attention to detail, that is Apple, will ensure we have pretty detailed maps at the release date I'm guessing - or they wouldn't bother.

    The other thing to note, that isn't really being brought up in most posts on this subject, is the fact that using and non-loaded maps will just chew the crap out of your data allowance. The better way by far will still be using 'proper' GPS trackers (Like Metro View / Tom Tom etc).
    From my limited knowledge, I understand that Vector based graphics can be scaled without loss of detail. Whether this transposes into just acquiring one image which is salable as opposed to acquiring a whole new set of images when zooming into the current maps application, which then leads to less data use is yet to be seen.

    Also to note; Should you use the in-built maps app for directions, then the (spoken and graphical) directions should overcome and short-comings on the maps detail if less than super detailed maps are initially released. I rarely squint at the a 3inch screen to see where I am going whilst driving. I generally only refer to it when stationary as the commentary is really all you need.

    I'd be more interested in the amount of cache the maps app will hold/not hold; Then popular routes & regions would use less data coupled with loading lag.

    Who knows that TomTom don't have any maps at all. TomTom buys maps from mapping companies. In Australia i think whereis and navtek produce the maps. In the UK I think it is Ordinence Survey. I don't know where does google source their maps from. What Google does is incorporate additional details on top of the generic maps. Feel free to correct me.

      Whereis is SENSIS. The maps Tom Tom uses is Sensis which is the same as what Google uses.
      There are only 3 mapping providers in Australia
      - SENSIS (Google, Tom Tom, Garmin, UDB street directories, etc.) Accurate in areas that have a UBD street directory. Becoming better at other areas since Google have started using them.
      - PSMA, they make their maps from Council maps, emergency services use these and an iPhone app Metroview. Google used to use these maps until around 2 years ago when they struck a deal with Sensis for advertising. Highly accurate but can be slow to update new developments.
      - Navteq - Nokia, Bing, Loads of in car systems. They have much better rural maps than Sensis, and lately have also managed to get the same City coverage. I would call Navteq the best.

      The other crowd sourced maps (Waze, openstreetmap, etc.) will never cover rural areas and are no good for serious use.

    I can't see much of difference between the maps from left to right other than labeling. I think all the streets which or in the google maps are there in iOS one as well. But not as thick as in the google google one. Plus the railway tracks are missing in the iOS one. Perhaps apple assumed people don't walk or drive in the train lines. Especially inside train stations. I think they may not show runways and taxiways inside airports as well.

    Once again, Apple is focusing on Fashion over Function, and once again, millions will still buy it in droves because it has a piece of fruit on it.

    Google Maps looks really noisy compared to Apple Maps, and I like it. If I want more detail, i'll zoom in.

      I think that's the point Ben. The level of detail ISN'T THERE in Apple maps. Zooming in will achieve nothing, unlike in Google Maps, where it gets more and more detailed. You can turn much of the extraneous data off on Google Maps.

        Actually, based on this quote below from the article I'd say the author has no clue. The data very likely is there, it just isn't being displayed, probably due to zoom levels. I very very much doubt they'd have all the same streets there, but for some reason only 5% of them have the name stored. This is London too, not some place in the middle of nowhere.

        "We don’t know if there’s just a few layers or labels that haven’t been turned on in this screenshot, but if this is really what it looks like when iOS 6 goes gold in a few months, it’ll be a platform deal breaker for many."

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