iOS 6 Maps: Information Takes a Back Seat

iOS 6 was released to developers after WWDC. One of the major new features presented during the keynote was iOS 6's Maps application. Apple is switching away from Google Maps for the first time since the iPhone's launch. Instead of relying on Google for mapping data, Apple is developing their own mapping solution. Apple has made some very nice map tiles from Open Street Map data, but these tiles do not present nearly as much information as the Google Maps tiles they are meant to replace.

iOS6_Maps.jpg

The current Google Maps tiles on the left convey significantly more information about waterways, smaller roads, and nearby landmarks. The new Apple tiles have none of this information, and instead provide only the names of a few local roads on a monochrome background. This is not nearly as useful. iOS 6 is still pre-release software, and I hope that it gains information parity before launch. But I imagine that rendering out a couple continents-worth of tiles is a weighty task — I'm not too optimistic.