Great news! There’s a new iPhone coming out, and better yet, the operating system that will ship on it can also be downloaded for free to those who presently own an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S. For travelers, you may be wondering about that new Maps application that Apple has been talking up. If you haven’t heard, the Maps program in iOS 6 has been engineered by Apple (instead of Google, as it previously was). It relies on routing data from Yelp and TomTom, two respectable companies in the travel app universe.
The new Maps application looks better. It’s prettier, and zooming is snappier. Also, Siri can now be used to ask for turn-by-turn directions to points of interests or addresses. But there’s a secret that won’t please urban dwellers: the new Maps app has done away with mass transit routing.
While automotive routing and walking directions are included, Apple has not included routing instructions for buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation. There’s still an icon there, but tapping it will only point you to the App Store, where it will recommend third-party mass transit apps to (hopefully) guide you.
Making matters worse, Google has yet to unveil a standalone Maps app for users to download in the event that they want to use something more akin to what they’re used to. In all likelihood, Google’s holding out just so people who update to iOS 6 realize how good they had it. Or, how good they could have it if they switched the iPhone out for an Android device, which has the most unadulterated, travel-friendly version of Google Maps anywhere on a mobile platform.
When will Apple right this terrible wrong? It’s not saying, but those who rely very heavily on their iPhone to get them places via mass transit should hold off on the iOS 6 update for now. Once you update, you’ll be getting the hamstrung maps, like it or not.