Adventures with Apple iMap – Lost & Found

Now a lot has been said about iOS 6 and its now famous iMap. Not quite the perfect product. Actually, it had been quite the adventure.

In September before iPhone 5 was available, iOS 6 was ready for all to download and I downloaded it on my iPhone 4 on the same day. I remember not much has changed, but there was a lot of talk about the new iMap and I was eager to try it out.

So I tried going from the office to Chomp Chomp food centre. That turned out to be quite an adventure. After 4 wrong turns, I stopped and took out the street directory.

Here was the problem with iMap. While, it provides turn by turn instructions, it is all visual. And as a result, I missed a few turns. It would be nice to have someone telling me what to do for a change. Now once I make a round turn, I can no longer see where I am on iMap. It was totally hopeless as a GPS.

Now fast forward two months, I have already switched phones and am now using the iPhone 5. I never planned to use iMap, but I thought I given it another go since I am going to a place I am not familiar with.

I checked the “real” street directory for the place and figured out most of the way and used iMap as a back up. I plugged the iPhone into the car stereo via the data cable and off we went.

It totally surprised me when iMap spoke to me, giving me step by step instructions. And I allowed myself to follow her instructions and we reached our destination without any problems. When I told the friends I was meeting that I got there by iMap, and the reaction was “Nooooooooooo!”, followed by complaints about how useless it was. They had the exact same experience I had two months back.

That night, I researched and found that Apple had crippled iMap for iPhone 4. It only fully supports iPhone 4S and 5, which was a disappointment.

I actually think they have a great product, if only Apple opens the app for all previous generations of iPhones, or at least up to 4 or even 3GS. If they chose to cripple the app, then provide the original Google maps as an option.

Now for a Singaporean like me, it is a good enough product for me, since it has sufficient data from the metropolitan areas. I tested it further and went against the advice of iMap and found that it efficiently re-calibrates and off an alternative route.

So if you tried iMap on iPhone 4 and have already upgraded to iPhone 5, I think you should give it another try.


Google has finally launched Google Maps for iOS. I have downloaded it and tested it. i think it works well. I guess in a urban environment, both Google Maps and iMaps are comparable. The main advantage for Google Maps is probably in less urban places in other countries, like Malaysia or Australia, which Google has a lot more real data points.

Now, if you do a comparison on the UI, I prefer the one on iMaps. The differences are minor, but my location on the map in iMaps is fixed and the maps moves accordingly.

On Google Maps, both my location and the maps moves and shifts as I travel, which gets a little irritating.

So which is better? I now have both iMaps and Google Maps sitting on my screen, giving me options when I need them.


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