Since we published last quarter’s app roundup, Google Maps has returned to the iPhone platform. Sort of. While Apple’s own Maps app – which relies on data from TomTom and Yelp – is still the default guidance program, Google has since produced its own standalone Maps app for iOS. You’ll need to visit the App Store to download the free program, but for the most part, it brings back everything you used to love about Maps on iPhone. You’ll find mass transit and walking directions, as well as voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, but you won’t have access to offline mapping just yet. However, Google seems dead-set on improving this product. Nothing would make Google happier than to have more iPhone users relying on Google Maps than Apple Maps.
If you’re an avid TripIt user, or you simply enjoy having real-time access to every single commercial arrival and departure at airports across the globe, Flight+ is a must. The App Store is stuffed full of programs that can track this kind of flight data, but at $2.99 (presently, anyway), this remains of the least expensive. Plus, it imports your upcoming flights from TripIt, and can push updates and alerts related to those flights right to your phone. It’s half play, half business, and 100 percent worth the investment.
For those who are considering jaunts to places where connectivity may be an issue, I’d give Maplets a look. It’s priced at $2.99, and offers a multitude of location maps – mostly in places that are well understood to be cellular black holes. From parks around the globe to downtown walking maps in places you’d love to go, this program allows you to download copies of vital maps before you depart. Planning a vacation? Just search for that destination and download whatever maps are in the nearby area. As of now, I’d still prefer its database to be more robust, but I’ve been in touch with the developer and it sure sounds as if they’re committed to expanding coverage.