Maps vs Maps: Apple vs Nokia

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The recent launch of iOS 6 on the iPhone 5 (and older devices), together with the first release of Apple's smartphone mapping and navigation solution, has raised some questions over the quality (or otherwise) of Apple's software and data. Helpfully, our good friend Nirave, writing over at Mobile Review, has put Nokia Maps/Drive up against Apple Maps in fairly gory detail, with a scoring system keeping track. Nirave used a Lumia 900, by the way - if he'd used a Symbian device, with full multitasking and (for example) capable of navigating with the screen off, it's likely the Nokia Maps score would have been a few points higher again.


From Nirave's piece:

With the launch of iOS 6 last Wednesday, Apple removed the preloaded Google Maps app for iOS and replaced it with their all new Apple Maps app. Offering turn-by-turn navigation, satellite view, 3D mode and traffic information, Apple Maps was being heralded as Apple’s long-awaited entrance into the location services market.....


On the other hand, Nokia Maps is excellent on the Nokia Lumia 900. As we’ve touched on, Nokia don’t own the Windows Phone platform meaning nifty touches such as lock-screen navigation and a fully integrated experience aren’t possible. On the other hand, Nokia have done what they do best – making navigation and mapping a breeze. They’ve quite literally catered for every eventuality and Nokia Maps / Drive will definitely do what you need them to.

So here’s how they stack up after being torn apart in our comparison. Remember the scores below are a sum of the individual scores across each of the five sections. So here’s the scores:

Nokia Maps – 43 out of 50

Apple Maps – 24 out of 50

Wow I’m going to be honest and say the Apple Maps score shocks even me. When writing this, I didn’t work out the overall score until the end, in an effort to add impartiality. I’ve been brutal to Apple Maps and the simple reason is that Apple want Apple Maps to replace the competition and have been pushing it to be recognised as excellent.

Unfortunately for Apple, their first attempt is really quite bad. Sure it does have some nifty features but it definitely doesn’t stack up against Nokia Maps. It’s clear that just like ‘AntennaGate’, Apple rolled out a feature without any testing or quality control. In fact, some of the Apple Maps navigation and satellite view shots are actually comical and it begs to belief how the world’s largest technology company managed to get it SO wrong.

Because they did. Apple Maps is desperately poor. Even free navigation solutions such as NavFree for iOS beat it hands down. Apple occasionally release a product that doesn’t work and try to brush over the ensuing saga. They may have got away with it in ‘AntennaGate’ but they owe everyone of their users an apology for Apple Maps. They need to either spend some of that $656 billion and buy out a location company or go cap in hand to Nokia / Google and ask for Nokia Maps / Google Maps to be released ASAP for iOS 6.

While I'm not sure that the latter suggestions will happen, it's clear that Apple needs to improve its mapping and navigation solution fast. At least one of the weaknesses, the reliance on a data connection, can be turned into a positive here because all the data can be fixed in real time at the server end, without having to push updates out to user devices!

Source / Credit: Mobile Review