Are Apple’s Fancy 3D Rendered Maps Better Than Google Maps? See For Yourself [Images]


Apple made a controversial decision when they decided to ditch Google Maps in iOS 6 entirely in favor of their own mapping and navigation service. When it comes to software, I think it’d be safe to say this has been one area Apple has always excelled in. You may have heard some of the hype surrounding Apple’s new 3D mapping invention technology, giving users the ability to fly around a map like Peter Pan, soaring around photo-realistic 3D structures and gazing into young women’s bedrooms.

Google Maps has long been Google’s feather in the hat, a crowning achievement of modern technology in the digital age. But can Google Maps even hold a candle to the “magic” of Apple’s 3D rendered maps? Let’s take a quick look at some famous landmarks when viewed through the eyes of Apple’s new 3D maps, and compare ’em to Google’s tried and true Street View. Maybe you can tell me which you think looks best.

Would make a really cool sequel to Fallout, not really functional in real world usage though…

Looks like this 3D modeling stuff is nothing more than a gimmick. A ruse. A pretty box that inside, is empty. The most unfortunate part about all this is that when Apple goes to war, sometimes it’s their own users that get caught with the short end of the stick. The perfect example of Apple cutting off their nose to spite their face. 3D maps isn’t even the half of it. A Michael Degusta said it best in a blog post when he pointed out all the features iOS users would be losing upon updating to iOS 6:

“On the plus side, at least people are getting turn-by-turn directions and Apple’s Flyover feature in exchange, right? Not so fast: 20 countries (population: 3.2 billion) are losing transit, traffic, or street view and getting neither turn-by-turn nor Flyover. The biggest losers are Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features either.

It gets worse. Even in countries where turn-by-turn and/or Flyover are available, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the 4th generation iPod touch won’t support them. These devices are owned by tens of millions of users who may update over-the-air when prompted, only to find they’ve lost features and haven’t even gained any of the marquee Maps features in return.”

So why have I dedicated an entire post to Apple’s maps on an Android blog? With the iPhone 5 hitting new sales records its first weekend, you’d be fooling yourself to think that Apple hasn’t wooed more than a few Android users with promises of security and their “fancy” apps. Just when it comes to maps and navigation — arguably the biggest weapon in the smartphone war — Google Maps still finds itself unmatched. To put it bluntly, Apple’s maps app sucks. Big time. Hey iPhone users, I see you got some pretty 3D maps and I’m happy for you, I really am. But maybe it’s time to switch to an OS from a company that doesn’t tell you what they think is best for you. Just a thought.

[Via Gizmodo | Additional reading: The New York Times]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I rock a gnex and a 4S (4S is free, work phone) so I always get to play with the latest software on both and I can assure you, first hand, that the new maps in iOS is three generations behind now. It was fine before. Apple should lay off the petty crap OH ANDROID IS SIMILAR TO IOS THEREFORE MAN YOUR BATTLESTATIONS, DUMP MAPS IMMEDIATELY FOR AN INFERIOR PRODUCT. I remember when Apple was concerned with building the best user experience possible… Mac OS X is still totally badass, but it gets eroded with every successive release…

    ok I’m rambling, tl;dr: I have a 4S and a gnex, and I’ll say first hand that maps on the 4S now sucks

      1. Haha, I was just thinking the same thing.

  2. looks fine to me

  3. A friend with an iPhone 4s was showing off how bad ass his navigation was to me today on iOS6. He was telling me how it tells him how much longer until he has to turn and how it looks just like a Navi unit in a car. I just smiled and nodded. I think the Navigation app on the G1 had more features than he described.

    1. Exactly. I remember rocking Google Navigation (and other apps) back when I had the G1. What, 4 years later and iCrap users are just now getting something that Google would be calling a beta? I’m surprised that people can be so stupid.

      Wait…no im not.

    2. got my G-1 a week or so before the release date in ’08.

      first thing i did was turn the GPS on, i have been hooked since then.

      first thing i said after turning it on was WOW!

      apple better better stick to marketing to urban people with a mental age of 7 because out here in the real world, they’ll never have the right stuff.

      1. And Google didn’t have a decent operating system until 2011. The priorities are different for both companies. Just give it time.

        1. “decent operating system” != 60fps swooping transitions.

          Now run along.

          1. It’s funny you assumed I was talking about that. How about actual design guidelines and a glimmer of design consistency?

        2. iOS isn’t an operating system! It’s an app drawer. Not much has changed with iOS 6!

          1. That’s what an OS is. Something that lets software run. By your logic Android is an app drawer except you press have to a button to get there…

    3. Yeah, my father in law was showing me that he had walking directions… I said Cute! Welcome to 2008! :)

      1. lol!

  4. At least the Brazilians get to look at pretty maps from the US… YAY BRAZILIANS!!!

  5. Apple Maps are Laughable.

  6. iPhone is a big fail, how that doesn’t also translate to a fail in sales….idk

    1. Locked-in ecosystem and a slick interface that grammaw can understand.

    2. The same way people like kim kardasian and lindsay lohan are famous. You can market any garbage to the average minded person and they will accept it. given the number of people in this country who can’t find the USA on a map, the power of PR does not surprise me. Of course if you are using apple maps I won’t blame you because it will probably point to china instead.

    3. Because there are iSheep out there who take what Apple says as gold that’s why…. They can’t think for themselves and make a decision based off their likes. They believe every word that Apple says. They are robots…

  7. LOL all the iSheep will still say iOS maps is better

      1. That’s BBC. I don’t think BBC are iSheep. All the AMERICAN iSheep will still say iOS MAPS is better.

        1. I read some of the comments on the Guardian article. They are iSheep in UK, as well

    1. Maybe it is better! Have you tried Google Maps on IOS? It sucked as well. Nothing at all like GMaps on Android.

      1. It didn’t have turn by turn navigation…it did sucked and was crippled so Apple made the right move making their own maps. They should’ve started years ago and spent 2+ years in development and released a good product. The new iOS maps are worse than before.

  8. I’m sure Google is working on a Maps app for iOS just like the YouTube app they just released. It won’t be long until iPhone users have the same amazing maps and navigation that all of us on Android enjoy.

    1. I was just going to ask, since the Google maps was always built in, it never made it to their app store is that it? Pretty sure they are going to now drop it in their app store and most people will end up switching anyway so not a big deal to those that were a fan of Google Maps

      1. I would be shocked if Google doesn’t release maps for iOS. Problem is you won’t be able to set that as the default maps.

        1. It would be interesting to know how well integrated google services are on an iPhone compared to an Android. G+, NOW, GMAIL, MAPS, SEARCH, VOICE, GTALK/HANGOUTS, YOUTUBE, etc. I’ve seen a few articles on gmail and g+. I really hope they do well on the iPhone. However, I think Apple won’t let them do to well and that’s why they created Android.

          1. Short answer: Not as good as on an Android. The integration is missing, and that counts for a lot.

          2. Android was in development long before the iPhone ever came out.

    2. “Oh please, O great and wonderful Google. Please save our sorry little @$$es.”

    3. So long as Apple “approves” it…

  9. Looks nice so far. Yet to play around with my wife’s iPhone 4 to view it in person

  10. Another Apple Fail for the consumer…

  11. Is the first image walking or driving directions? It goes straight into a building.
    If it’s driving directions, hopefully iOS users will question some of Apple’s directives.

  12. In the second comparison, Apple’s maps look like the kind of thing you’d find in popup books, IMO…

    1. Looks more like poop on a book to me!

  13. Even Magellan wouldn’t use Apples maps.

  14. Can’t iOS6 users just install Google Maps anyways or is it not even in their market?

    1. I think it will be in the market, so I don’t really see what all the controversy is about. iOS6 users will have access to both mapping services I would assume.

      1. not turn by turn nav

        1. iOS users have never had Google Navigation turn-by-turn, that is why I said mapping services.

          1. Yes but you also said *both* mapping services. Apple maps is turn by turn nav. The other thing is you can’t make 3rd party apps default in ios6.

  15. But you acting like Google Maps where it is today was how it’s been since they started. I’m sure just like Google updates their maps app, Apple will do the same. And who said Apple invented anything? It seems like when they introduce anything the Android fanboys claim they invented it. It really don’t matter what they do because Android fans will damn them for not having something that Android has or finally getting around to implementing it. So they damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    1. No they’re just damned cuz they suck.

    2. Hi! I think the basic purpose of a map is to show accurate locations. If it does not do that, what’s the use. You are right about Google maps not being here from the start, but they were never so unreliable.

    3. But Apple themselves say they don’t release something until it’s clean and polished (this is their reasoning for releasing features that are a year + old). So doesn’t that mean their maps app is”perfect” now?

    4. If Apple didn’t claim all kinds of ridiculously ripped off stuff as their inventions people wouldn’t make that joke. They claimed they invented smart phones with rounded corners. They made their own bed so far as that’s concerned. As far as dammed if you do/don’t you can say the exact same thing about what iphone fan boys say about Android. No matter how great a phone is, how many new cool features are brought in, how great of an upgrade to the OS a new version is according to them its inferior because it’s Android.(or more precisely because it’s NOT apple)

    5. Kenta dont bother fandroids are the blindest of all the fanboys out there. They don’t understand that like any product that first hits the market it needs refinement an I’m sure it will get it. Talking bout refinement that’s one thing they know little of with their crappy ass and laggy screens “project butter” haha yeah you need truckloads of butter to get to the level of fluidity apple was able to nail on iOS since day 1 hahaha

      1. This isn’t about ‘refinement.’ This is about not placing entire towns in the middle of the sea!

  16. in all seriousness, most people who have put up the money for the new iphone dont know anything about any of this stuff or care about any of this stuff. they just want the new iphone, period.

    1. Until they get it and get lost due to the crappy mapping. Then they’ll care.

      1. The map works…it’s the details that are bad.

        1. In other words, it works if you know where you’re going.

  17. Moral of the story, get the basics right

  18. I still scratch my head when I see all the people blindly line up to buy the next big thing from Apple without even shopping/testing the thing to see what you are getting with your money. I know that android users do the same thing, but at least with Android, there’s a little safety net in the fact that usually, if I don’t like a new feature (e.g. Keyboard, Gallery, Camera App, Music/Video app) I can just change it out for one that I do. I currently use QuickPic and SwiftKey just to name a few. Millions of people will line up and fork over millions of dollars for what is arguably an inferior product compared to its competition. And they’ll do this because the perception is that there is nothing out there that could possibly be better, come on its “The iPhone 5”. Sure, its probably a great phone, but the perception that its the best you can get, way better than the GS3, way better than the One X, way better than the iPhone 4S even, come on people, think for yourselves.

    1. it’s the power of marketing, of branding. Apple is doing great in this area. Google and Android OEM nees to catch up this.

    2. I think the GS3 is the closest I’ve seen to an Android frenzy for a phone. The difference, however, lies in consumers who don’t need the latest and greatest, or people like me who can’t decide which new phone to get. GS3 for shiny goodness, Relay for keyboard, or wait for the Note II enormity?! Ack!

  19. Is that a map? It looks like a messy ugly picture to me. LOL.

  20. Which one is the Apple maps? I am not familiar with iOS.

    1. The one that sucks.

  21. Yawnnnnnnn!!!!!! wake me up when Apple comes up with something new, that I had since Cupcake 1.6

    1. Cupcake was 1.5 BTW. I am guessing you meant Donut which was 1.6?

  22. “You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a
    world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you
    could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I’m going!
    Oooooh! Ooooooh!”

    1. “Do a barrel roll!”

  23. There is all kinds of revolt on-line right now. Huffington Post’s was the best: Even a Twitter account was created to complain.

    1. Hi! Thanks for sharing. It was fun reading the post.

  24. anyone who defends the apple maps loses all credibility. If you dont believe me, look up the “Brooklyn Bridge” in apple maps and look at it in 3D…

    1. Google has spent a lot of money in the last 2-3 years out competing everyone including Bing. I imagine that maps is a very strategic product for them. One of their top.

      1. Soooo, you’re saying that Apple gets a pass because Google ‘spent a lot of money’? How is that helping people being inconvenienced by Apple’s arrogant ways?

    2. LOL. thats hilarious.

  25. Insert robotic laugh ah ah ah

  26. Have you guys noticed that GOOGLE SOLVED THE PINCH TO ZOOM PATENT ISSUE? On the new version of Google Maps, you can “double tap and drag” to zoom and pan. This is a one handed, single touch (versus multi-touch) implementation. I imagine if Apple keeps pushing their multi-touch patent #8,125,463 as an offensive tool against Android, this is how we will be “zooming” going forward. Try it for yourself. It actually works pretty well.


      Android already has a different implementation of multi-touch compared to Apple.

  27. Have you guys noticed that GOOGLE SOLVED THE PINCH TO ZOOM PATENT ISSUE? On the new version of Google Maps, you can “double tap and drag” to zoom and pan. This is a one handed, single touch (versus multi-touch) implementation. I imagine if Apple keeps pushing their multi-touch patent #8,125,463 as an offensive tool against Android, this is how we will be “zooming” going forward. Try it for yourself. It actually works pretty well. I bet this will be a part of Key Lime Pie.

    1. Works well, actually probably the way I zoom anyway. Multi-touch is a big deal though and that would be a huge hit for Android. Good to know we can live without it. I used to live without it on my G1 before cupcake came out i’m sure I could do it again, but I don’t want to.

    2. Pinch-to-zoom is never going away on Android; it’s too vital. The new double-tap-and-drag zoom gesture is only intended for single-handed use cases.

      1. The courts decide whether or not Pinch-to-zoom is going away on Android. It doesn’t matter what Google wants, and Apple has a very strong patent on the implementation. I have yet to see software patents given the FRAND treatment, so unless the courts rule the pinch-to-zoom patent bogus, Apple will eventually win in court. Apparently, Google is ready for either event, because “Double-tap drag” is just as fluid and accurate as “pinch-to-zoom.” In fact, since it is one handed, I think I might actually prefer it!

        1. Well, no they won’t win in court… at least in the appeals process. Do a search for TED, Jeff Hahn (I think that’s the spelling) and multi touch. In his demonstration, he publicly demo’s pinch to zoom in early 2006… it’s proven prior art and the jurors have shown they incorrectly applied the meaning of prior art (well, they skipped it really) in the case. Having said that, that’s America for ya – the rest of world threw out the Apple patent rubbish. :-)

    3. I thought you could always double tap to zoom at least…

      1. you could, but now you can double tap, hold, then slide your finger up or down to zoom in/out. :)

        1. Google already solved that issue. Multitouch functions the same but its created differently. I would post my source but I’m in pu lic and am not spending the time.

    1. Wow. That’s a huge difference. Good thing that most indians are somewhat smart (and poorer), and thus more likely to be using Android anyway.

  28. I remember someone who just completed their 8th year of schooling saying that you don’t even have to be that good at what you like or want to do. You just have to stick with it and you’ll be ahead of 70% of people.

    This sort of restores my faith in that, these people that are switching kind of screwed themselves. Or maybe they were just deceived :-/

  29. It seems Steve Jobs took Apple’s attention to detail to the grave. Welcome to the crappy Cook era.

  30. I agree maps looks nice but that’s it.

  31. More Apple fail

    “Apple Maps also have errors in business listings. I went to call a local taxi driver and it was a taxidermist (seriously)”

  32. My mom has the iPhone 4 with ios 6… I took a look at the map app and compared it vs Google maps. I kinda like the “3D” look, but it’s impractical while driving. Also, Google maps seems more refined and more accurate than Apple’s map app… Apple still has a lot of catching up to do of they wish to compete with Google.

    1. They need a more practical feature like google maps when you look up a restaurant and it shows you the inside of the restaurant. But who wants practical when you have an iphone. It only serves the purpose akin to a prada handbag.

  33. I’m truly appalled by this. I’m no Apple fan, but I did appreciate the attention to detail and flawless appeal of iOS standards as set by Steve Jobs. He would’ve buried the iPhone in a grave before allowing this nonsense to be released to the public.
    Shame on Apple for releasing such crap..

    On the other hand, if this gets a few people to switch to Android…score for us!

    1. Even if it is debatable whether or not he was an innovator, he definitely should be credited for attention to detail. This Cook guy just likes to sue and put out crap.

  34. Why are all the iOS users begging Google to release a Google Maps for iOS , all they do is bash and badmouth Google/Android all day if you want google maps get a GS3 or any other Android phone, you don’t see Apple giving us any of their feature’s not like we want any of them to begin with. Not to mention Apple is suing and threatening all the Android OEM’s and hurting our ecosystem with their non sense patents, fudge off leechers >.> GO Android or Go Home.

  35. Marketing for Apple has always been deceptive.

  36. Shouldn’t there be a lawsuit on this soon. I mean apple’s map pin’s are too round like google’s. And apple’s streets are too street looking. I recommend they be more zig zaggy as not to copy google maps.

  37. nope I’m fine with Google maps

  38. My wife was trying out this morning on her iPhone 4.. She wasn’t impressed she will keep using her Nexus S for navigation..

  39. I’m upgrading my iPod 4 to iOS6 just to see what new things it brings. Losing Google Maps on it is not a big deal…I have my Evo LTE which I use for everything anyway! :) Oh, the iPod is a free MP3 player offered by my bank to open up an account…I won’t ever buy a crApple.

    1. I think the real question is what bank supplied you with a free Ipod, can you open up another one and give me that lol

  40. I would consider switching from Android to iPhone 5 if the Nexus 4 is underwhelming, but this is a DISASTER. I rely on Google Maps on a daily basis and as someone that lives and works in a city (NYC) not having transit is a slap in the face.

    Nexus 4 better be good. I need my google maps.

  41. I don’t even use satellite view in maps. I don’t have time for all that. LoL!! If I really wanted to see that I would use Google Earth. It’s a cool feature, but it’s just a gimmick. Nothing revolutionary. UNLESS… it shows this 3D view while you’re navigating, then that’s cool. Especially if it can keep up. If it’s just map view, then useless. I can use Google Earth if I really wanted that.

  42. Google should create an ios map app and then put it in the app store for a fee. That way they can get their pound of flesh from all those Apple users.

  43. While I agree with parts of this article we have to consider the fact that back when Android was starting out people were saying how much better the Apple App Store was. However others would reply that of course it would have a one-up on the Android Market because it had been around longer. Now look how far we’ve come. The Play Store rivals if not exceeds the App Store. So while I still prefer Google Maps and I still love GM Navigation; I find Apple’s offering to be an impressive first attempt and I believe that Google will have to keep on their toes to remain top dog in the mobile mapping sector.

    To quote Chris “When it comes to software, I think it’d be safe to say this has been one area Apple has always excelled in.” I agree and with Apple being one of the most successful companies in the world, I don’t think it’ll be hard for them, nor very long a time frame before they bring their mapping solution up to speed and on par with GMaps. Which is, of course, a good thing as it will keep Google motivated to make GMaps the best that it can be. I hope both apps will be highly successful.

  44. No one should say anything bad about the Isheep or Apple guys! They are happy after four years… WOW.. They getting something new no one had it before…It`s 3D! Hum, any Isheep can`t tell me what the 3D is? I did switch from the HTC EVO with to cameras on the back of it, to SGS3….

  45. Just thoight this might be relevant but Google maps has 3d tech in 20 cities around the world right now anyways so why are we comparing street view when gmaps has had 3d since maps V5. Don’t believe me? Go check put the Colosseum in Rome right now, its looks glorious

  46. That’s not 3d, but a skewed 2d picture. Pretty distorted if you ask me #fail

  47. Jobs would have taken one look at this app and fired the whole dev team. Apple is doomed with a businessman like Cook running things.

  48. i was once a pure android person and have since switched to iOS. but the BIGGEST complaint i’ve always had, even before iOS 6, is the Maps on iOS bloooooooows compared to google maps on android. it doesn’t even update the route if you turn off course, so lame.

  49. You should see the iSheep on All Things D raving about how good the new Maps are. It’s a Joke……

  50. Just wondering how many isheep will crash into things just because the maps. Does it mean they will get out of a ticket because there Iphone 5 told them to make that wrong turn into the building? Don’t worry I sure that Apple will pay for that car accident.

  51. Street view is not 3D apples 3D is way better than googles i can actually see my house in 3D cant do that google 3d maps.

  52. All you Android fanboyz are losers. iPhone is still better than your crap you have. Move out your moms basement and get a life.

  53. my friend just called me and was cursing at his iphone because he got lost with apple maps.. lol

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