The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, dispenses with Google Maps and replaces it with a homegrown variety. While some users are narked that the new app doesn’t as yet include some of the tried-and-trusted Google tricks like transport (and appears to be replete with mistakes) it does have one significant feature: zoomable 3D maps of certain cities, including London.
3D maps of London are nothing new (Android has had them for a while) but the detail on the Apple version is stunning. There’s something immensely enjoyable about zooming across the city using the iPad’s touchscreen to navigate your way around: the app supports pinching and zooming, while rotating two fingers in a circular motion controls the direction and dragging two fingers up or down controls the angle. It’s immensely addictive stuff.
The app isn’t without its flaws. Parts of the capital are rendered in 3D, including most of the West End, the City, Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park; but stray far north of Oxford Street or south of Waterloo and you’re back into the quotidian 2D world. It’s also a bit of a processor hog: the latest third-generation iPad we tried it on struggled at times to keep up, and the app did crash on occasion. Older machines will have even greater trouble (and it won’t work at all on any iPhone pre-4S, or the first-generation iPad).
Assuming you have a new enough device, you can download the new iOS by visiting ‘Software Update’ in the Settings app. And if you’ve upgraded but miss Google Maps, Business Insider has a neat trick explaining how to get it back (basically, add a hyperlink to the mobile version onto your home screen).
More London-based 3D goodness: