One of the possible reasons why Apple shifted to their own mapping solution in iOS 6, besides reports suggesting that their five year long Maps license from Google had expired, is the company’s general preference to having complete and absolute control over how user’s use their products. In addition to that, data from users of maps is very valuable; data that Apple would like to keep to itself rather than hand it to a third party.
iOS 6 Maps hasn’t been received positively by the community. While a few select number of high-profile cities get awesome, detailed coverage, the rest are left with barren maps and inaccurate data especially when compared to the data available for the same cities on Google Maps. Google Maps has transit directions, up to date maps and, most of all, a significantly larger number of points of interest such as petrol pumps, restaurants, banks etc.
Now, since there is no way to access Apple Maps outside of an iOS 6 device, TechCrunch has discovered that when Maps links from iOS 6 are shared online, they redirect to Google Maps.
We’ve tested this ourselves and were a little surprised at this design decision. maps.apple.com links shared to Twitter, email, via text message or iMessage all redirect to Google Maps on desktops and other smartphones. Oddly, if iOS 6 users open up a maps.apple.com link from Facebook, it takes them to Google Maps instead of opening up in Apple Maps like it should. In addition to that, iMessage / text messages get the location in the form of an attached vCard which contains the same link that has to be opened with an extra couple of taps in Google Maps.
These inconsistencies will certainly go away in further updates to iOS 6 and Maps, but don’t expect the redirection from maps.apple.com to maps.google.com on desktops to go away until Apple brings iOS 6 Maps to desktop users in the form of a proper website.
Apple Maps will certainly improve with time, but until then users who rely heavily on GPS navigation are recommended to use the more reliable and accurate Google Maps on their iOS 6 device by going to maps.google.com.
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