I'll believe it when I see it but I hope the rumor it correct.
Google Maps for IOS was released just before midnight yesterday and I have been playing with it a little.
First and foremost, it is true to the Google Maps name in that it provides fairly accurate navigation instructions and all of the joys of the niceties of Google Maps (walking and public transit).
Some people have complained about not being able to find it in the iTunes app store. Here is the direct link to Google Maps for IOS : link. If you experience download issues, let me know.
Let me start off by listing some of the shortcomings:
- No iPad optimization
- Only satellite and traffic layers provided
- No map caching for offline use (haven't found it if its there)
- Doesn't seem to have a dark themed night mode
These shortcomings clearly indicate that Google will be using its constantly updating model with Google Maps for IOS (as it does on Android). None of these detract from the core purpose of the app and I prefer having the current version now rather than waiting 6 months for a "more complete" release.
Apple Maps versus Google Maps
I won't spend much time listing the failings of Apple Maps as the media has beaten that point enough however theres no denying Apple Maps are prettier. Everything else a mapping app is expected to do seems to be better on Google Maps (directions are correct more often, finding landmarks is easier and more accurate, etc).
Google Maps improvements on IOS
Comparing Google Maps for Android and IOS, the Android version is clearly more feature complete and reliable, however Google clearly spent time on the visual design of Google Maps for IOS. Google has made Google Maps for IOS more intuitive with little details that make the experience that much better (swiping up to see detailed directions, hiding the layers in a tiny menu option on the right, etc). I am sure many of these design features will eventually wind up in the Android version.