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Hands on with iOS 6: Maps

Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 20, 2012
When Apple first unveiled the iPhone in 2007, the company partnered with Google to deliver maps and directions for its users. Five years later, Apple is for the first time providing its own mapping solution.

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone in 2007, the company partnered with Google to deliver maps and directions for its users. Five years later, Apple is for the first time providing its own mapping solution.

Apple has completely revamped its Maps appthe code, the interface, and even the app iconto bring you vector-based maps, turn-by-turn directions, 3D cities, integration with Yelp, and live traffic and construction reports.

In the transition, it has removed a few stalwart Maps features. For one, youll no longer see an option for Street View, as that feature depended on Googles mapping data. And Apple has outsourced transit directions to the third-party apps that might best fit your needs. When you search for bus or train travel, the Maps app pulls up a window showing the apps that can best serve you in that region. And on the iPad, you wont see Terrain mappingjust Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite views.

Looking at Maps

When you first open Maps on an iPhone, it looks similar to its Google counterpart, though it has a streamlined interface. Along the top, the Route and Bookmarks buttons bookend the Maps search bar on either end.

The main area of the Maps app boasts Apples newand quite beautifulvector-based maps. These scale smoothly as you zoom in and out, allowing you to scan a map or find a place very quickly. The app also now has Yelp integration, so you can see reviews and dining locations immediately on the map. (It also has icons for parks, museums, state buildings, tourist attractions, subway stops, and more.)

In the bottom left corner are two buttons: a location button, which can locate you on the map (assuming youve turned on Location Services for Maps) and a 3D button, which brings you into 3D mode. The 3D button is inaccessible once you zoom out to a certain distance: You can really only use it when youre in a city.

In the bottom right corner, the familiar page-curl icon remains; tap it to reveal options for dropping a pin; printing your map; showing or hiding traffic conditions; listing the results of a search (only applicable when youre using the search bar); and three buttons for changing the maps view to Standard (a typical map), Hybrid (street names overlaid on satellite footage), or Satellite (satellite footage of the location with no street names). Two links at the top of the page curl send you to a screen listing Apples Maps partners and a form for submitting any problems you encounter with the app or the maps to Apple.

Get directions

The Route button allows you to plot directions to and from a place by car, on foot, or via public transit (though that last option suggests a third-party app after you tap the Route button, rather than giving you directions). It also displays a list of recent routes youve plotted. If you tap any of those routes, you immediately get directions for it.

 

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