Apple updated maps app to compete with Google Maps
Apple is angling to catch up to Google when it comes to maps — thanks in part to a fleet of planes and cars it has deployed to snap images of the northeast.
The Apple Maps app — whose wrong directions and spotty information has been the butt of jokes since its launch seven years ago — on Monday rolled out the biggest update yet to its map of New York City and nearby areas, boosting details on buildings, roads, parks and bodies of water.
Users looking at Central Park, for example, can now see individual baseball diamonds and more detailed footpaths. Buildings also are more accurately rendered in 3D using flight technology to better depict elevations.
The upgraded iOS app also offers a “Google Street View” copycat called “Look Around,” which allows users to virtually drive down the city’s streets looking at 360-degree image that was captured by a fleet of cars equipped with cameras.
The app now features indoor maps for malls and airports, allowing it to give highly detailed directions.
Previously, Apple relied on third-party sources for its map data, and thus when Apple Maps debuted in 2013, the product was riddled with geographical errors, misidentified cities and towns, and occasionally failed to locate addresses.
The embarrassment led to the ouster of iOS head Scott Forstall, who had previously been a favorite of the late Steve Jobs, a failure that has lingered in the minds of users despite significant improvement to the app in recent years.
If Apple Maps also can compete with Google Maps on driving, biking and public transportation directions, it might start to pick up new users.
“The bar for Apple Maps isn’t incredibly high — it’s just ‘don’t suck,’ ” tech analyst Shelly Palmer told The Post. “I don’t know anybody that uses Apple Maps on their iOS device,” he said. “You’re not going to find anybody that’s a serious user of technology that hasn’t replaced Apple Maps with Google Maps.”
Apple has already rolled out its upgraded maps to California and Hawaii, as well as parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.