Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Apple Maps could be better

The news birdies brought this:

I have long wondered how far it will take for Apple to want to cut any ties to Google. Since it seems they are doing this, how about adding some *useful features* to the maps app on iOS.

Online vs. offline maps

The main problem I face with the iPhone in general, is that roaming abroad is still dreadfully expensive. As I've written before, I feel "at home" when the phone works not only as a phone but as a twitter and email client, and a maps engine.

Now, Apple could somehow fix the whole thing by i.e. starting their own global 3G operations, and giving reasonable global roaming charges. Let's forget that. What they can already do with regards to the maps update/transition is make roaming less needed. Fix it at the application level.

Current situation: separate map apps

For navigating in my home country, I use iOS Google maps. Works splendid. Pulls data off 3G.

For trips abroad, I can either pre-visit such areas in the Google map, and then hope the maps remain in the application's cache. They normally do. Or I can download (and possibly pay) for separate city-wide "offline maps" apps. There are *many* of these (by vendor, by city, free / commercial).

What Apple *could* do in the iOS 6 maps upgrade is unify all this. Make the caching explicit, and cut away the need for *separate* map apps. Just one Maps.

This is how to do it...

- Add to the preferences of the Maps app a selection of cities that will be kept available "offline", i.e. cached to the phone's memory itself. Navigation and route finding within such areas should work even when data roaming is disabled.

That's... all.

I hope Apple does get to see this customer feedback. If you second this idea, please say so to them here.

- Asko


jannek said...

I wonder why it's Android-only feature. Shouldn't be technically too hard on iOS either?

juliangreenfield said...

Apple has all of its devices exclusively built for self-support.  Mapping features too will grow out for a self-stand.

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Pat Robinson said...

It should do really good on the IOS technology as well.

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jostevenshuws said...

Apple Maps are way better than Google’s, by a long shot. It’s much more user-friendly.

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