Back in the summer, Apple dumped Google Maps to debut its own, in-house mapping service and app dubbed simply Maps. Just hours after iOS 6 rolled out, users started complaining about the service's weak map coverage, lack of transit information, totally messed up POIs and a few more.
Despite its shortcomings, Apple Maps is rather good-looking and is packed with handy features. One of them is the built-in navigation. It works even on the lockscreen or in the background, while you are in other apps. Real-time traffic reports are available and Apple is also sourcing the live traffic info anonymously from iOS users on the road.
There's also turn-by-turn guidance real-time traffic updates, local search, Yelp reviews and the impressive Flyover 3D views.
The 3D Flyover mode is a great bonus for your viewing pleasure. When you enable the 3D view (outside navigation) you will be able to explore cityscapes from birds-eye view. The currently available selection is extremely limited, but hopefully more areas will be added later on. You can zoom, tilt and rotate using two-finger gestures to explore 3D landmarks rendered in real time.
The Galaxy S III gets Google Maps as its default maps app. Being around for ages, Google offers detailed (and accurate) mapping information complete with cool features like Street View mode and voice-guided navigation (although in just 39 countries to Apple's 56). There's also public transport and pedestrian navigation.
The familiar Street View lets you enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding in a particular area.
Just like Apple Maps, Google Maps makes use of vector graphics for displaying maps, making them lightweight and easy on the phone. Where the Android service comes in front though, is the offline caching feature, allowing you to save a particular area for times when Internet connection isn't at hand.
Additionally, provided you're signed into Google, the location you've searched on the Google Maps website will be synchronized with the app on Android and will pop up as recent searches.
For some parts of the world, Apple's Maps relies on the OpenStreetMap Foundation data, however the main supplier of mapping data for the service is TomTom, but it's more than obvious by this point that the map data is not up to scratch.
Overall, being in the mapping data business for quite some time and having state-of-the-art data centers to serve it has its benefits and Google is taking full advantage of its assets. For now Apple is playing catch-up with its rather messy entry into the deep waters.
Surely, iOS Maps will be polished eventually, but that will take quite some time. For now, though, they are way behind and when even Tim Cook suggests you try some of the alternatives, we can only pick one winner here.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S III