After six months, experiences start to show Apple Maps may be better than Google Maps

After six months, experiences start to show Apple Maps may be better than Google Maps

Summary: Apple continues to improve Apple Maps and we haven't heard much from people about its performance. Recent testing by folks at PC Magazine indicates Apple Maps may now even be better than Google Maps.


There was quite a bit of press coverage and angst over Apple Maps back when the iPhone 5 was released last September. After nearly six months, we are seeing that Apple Maps is much improved, and even critics like John C Dvorak are finding that Apple Maps may even be better than Google Maps.

After six months, experiences start to show Apple Maps may be better than Google Maps
(Image: Screenshot by Matthew Miller/ZDNet)

Dvorak was in one car while Leo LaPorte and Lisa Kentzell took other cars as all three headed out to the same destination using Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps. I believe all were using the iPhone 5 for navigation and now that Google Maps for iOS is just about like Android, I think it was a fair test. While all people ended up at the test destinations, there were particulars during the navigation sessions that distinguished Apple Maps from the others.

I never had much of an issue with the performance of Apple Maps, but I did create a post covering several alternatives. Apple regularly updates its mapping data and it is still the default navigation solution on my iPhone 5. I prefer the lock screen functionality and ease of use even compared to something like Google Maps.

Nokia released its Here Maps solution for iOS and has native clients on Lumia Windows Phones. I would like to see a test, maybe I will conduct some of my own, comparing Here Maps with Google Maps and Apple Maps, since Nokia has the most experience of all in the GPS navigation area. I have used Nokia Maps for years, but it doesn't always have the easiest user interface and Apple definitely does a good job in this area.

I know the testing by Dvorak and myself are just a couple of points to consider and am curious if others are seeing solid performance out of Apple Maps. Google Maps has been around for a few years and like iOS, maybe it's starting to get a bit dated.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Is that it?

    You heard about a test but you're not really sure about the details. That's your piece for today?
    That's a really expansive review and certainly worthy evidence to writer an article on. No wonder the bloggers on zdnet get slated for their laziness and inept writing standards.
    Little Old Man
    • Someone is cranky today

      Maybe it is something simple like ZDNet is not ready to publish the article yet
    • Did you read the article that was referenced?

      I posted this because we are seeing others confirm that Apple Maps is actually a decent navigation solution and thought it was valid to point to the PC Magazine article that ran a test between three solutions navigating to different destinations. My article was NOT that comparison, but I just offered up some of my quick thoughts on experiences that confirm what Dvorak experienced as well.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Yes I did read it

        Is that why you blog? To point to other people's articles without doing any analysis yourself?
        Explain how the article took more than 2mins and then explain just why you think it deserved to be published.

        I stand by my comment that it's lazy writing and nothing more than space filler expecting readers to view someone else's articles and somehow promoting yourself as some sort of news provider. There are good articles, where analysis is completed and reasonable conclusions reached, then there are articles that are nothing more than, "Look what I found...... useless summary, useless summary, go and read the freakin report yourself." Lazy!
        Little Old Man
        • I have to agree with others that MM is wasting

          our time. Totally agree that, by all accounts, he finds something, writes something that has NO details and doesn't have the where withal to even post the link to the original article. Nice. Thank you to the reader who did. Funny about the dumpster view. If MM and included that then at least it could have showed that he at least read ALL if the original article.

          Just another example of ZDNET accepting trash from writers and allowing it to continue to lower everyone's view of ZDNET. This must be a plot by ZD to get more revenue by more clicks by posting time wasting articles.

          And I tried Google, Bing and Apple's satellite in both urban and rural. Urban for Apple is 9 out of 10 with Bing and Google an 8. Rural, where our head office is, Apple is 6, Bing 7 and Google is 8.

          This has been enough of a waste so no time to drive around and test the navigation part.
        • Blogs always point to other articles

          John Gruber blogs on Daring Fireball. He makes $500,000 a year pointing to other articles, taking snippets from the, and giving his one-liner thoughts.
        • RE: Little Old Man AKA Big Hypocrite

          While I do agree that the article is definitely on the light side as far a content I do have to laugh at your hypocrisy. You have to jump all over MM (which is a waste of time to begin with) about it because it's a pro Apple piece yet countless times I see you posting in the talk backs of articles with even less actual content without attacking the author. The difference is those articles are either anti Apple or pro Android. I have actually seen you praise an article bashing Apple that was less than a paragraph and did nothing more that link to another article. Funny how in your little brain that one was a good article but this one rates bashing the author. I think the Little in your handle is very appropriate because you seem to be one of the most small minded people on these talk backs.
      • Wow!

        Wow! You can just feel that anger in those comments from Google fans who have never actually used Apple Maps (because they don't use iPhones), and just automatically shoot the messenger for relaying factual information that they don't want to hear..

        I've never run into any problems using Apple Maps, and I've always found it to be faster and more accurate than Google Maps... Yes, I did download Google Maps and try it out to compare to Apple Maps, and it pales in comparison to Apple Maps.

        Meanwhile, we have all of these angry comments from haters who don't want to know that real people's experiences show Apple Maps to be better than Google Maps.

        We can only repeat Jack Nicholson's famous line: "You can't handle the truth!" ;-)
        Harvey Lubin
    • seriously?

      These guys never test this stuff, they comment on other peoples stories... This is what they pass for news here, Op-Ed with little substance.
      • Yet you would be happy with the article if

        it was anti Apple right?
    • my own experience

      Apple Maps has become better for the past half year to the point I no longer launch Google Maps on my iOS devices.

      When Apple Maps was released, it had better satellite imagery than Google Maps where I live. Now it has plenty of local data as well. What is most important with a mobile mapping solutions is the user interface and the ease with which maps are used. Nothing beats Apple Maps here.

      Nokia Here is a joke.
    • Yes, that is it...and it is enough to encourage further exploration

      Hey Little Old Man, exactly who has "slated (ZDNet) bloggers for their laziness"? And more to the point, why -- if that is so -- do you read their posts and comment? Matt Miller is deservedly well regarded as an avid techie/geek. His pieces are informative and entertaining with an 'every man' kind of style. If it is high level technical expertise that you crave why not research it and create it yourself? I'd be glad to read those posts.
  • What?

    Just write I love Apple in Big letters, and move on!

    I did one test, in Seattle USA, and noticed:

    "there were particulars during the navigation sessions"

    No details, specifics, references to anything useful, based on one journey.

    And probably just it looked pretty.

    How is it in Australia now?

    You get paid for this?
  • You too.

    Just write in big letters, I hate Apple and I will attack any article that shows them in a positive light.
    • Think you miss the point.

      Couldn't care less if it is or isn't. The point is there is nothing to indicate either way from this article beyond some rather (extremely) loose opinions.
    • As Boothy said

      I don't care either way. If anything, I would prefer apple maps to improve as this will help people I know with istuff. This article confirms nothing however, it may as well be a gossip piece, "my mate's, mate's, sister's, cousin said her apple maps are loads better".
      Little Old Man
      • Hey Grumpy little man.....

        I have no smart phone and would sooner use an old fashioned paper map for as often as I travel, but I have to admit how hilarious you and certain others are when even sources such as PC (or even Maximum PC) have acknowledged Apple can and has done some things better at times. It's a huge competition among brands and no one brand will stay on top or "Best of" forever. It can be PC or Google Or Linux Or Apple, I have no favorites among tech. So all that being said I thank you, Will Ferrill, toddbottom3 and any of the others who feel you have made the the typical Apple user so miserable even though it comes at the expense of your maturity level (that's the funniest part).
        • Learn to read

          Then talk about maturity. It's nothing to do with which is better, I'll leave that to you and the other idiots that want to make it about the OS. My comments are about the article itself, the content not the subject. How mature do you have to be to look beyond OS wars, sheesh!
          Little Old Man
          • I am sure he can read just fine

            It's probably the fact that he has read enough of your posts, like the rest of us, that can see right through your BS. You want everyone to believe it's only about the article but guess what, we aren't as stupid as you seem to think we are. We all KNOW that they only reason you are attacking the article is because it's pro Apple.

            Also have to mention how pathetic the voting system is here. I gave a vote to partman1969 but it removed one of his votes, gave him a flag and gave Grumpy here an additional vote. If you want to whine about something wrong here that isn't driven by your Apple hatred complain about that.
          • Forgot to mention

            Not only did it give Grumpy the vote but also dropped his flags from 4 to 1. What a pathetic broken system.