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What are the alternatives for Apple Maps?

Consumer Reports News: September 26, 2012 02:08 PM

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Apple Maps, which replaced Google Maps as the navigation program in the company's new devices, has not been met with universal kudos. And with the news from Google that its iOS-specific navigation app won't be ready for Apple devices for months, what's a frustrated iPhone 5 owner or iOS 6 user to do?

Consumer Reports car experts tested the new Apple Maps feature as part of the iPhone 5 review. And while there are some initial flaws that make Apple Maps seem to have been "rolled out in beta form," as our review noted, the app does offer some nifty tricks—spoken turn-by-turn navigation, for example.

Still, our testers note that dedicated portable GPS navigation devices do a much better job for in-car guidance. (Also, the temptation to answer a windshield-mounted iPhone—or any smart phone—when it automatically switches from navigation mode to incoming call more can increase the risk of distracted driving.) Navigation apps (both free and paid versions) from device makers such as Garmin, Navigon, and TomTom are also up to the task of in-car guidance for those who'd rather carry only their smart phone rather than a GPS unit.

And iPhone owners who used to rely on Google Maps for personal guidance—navigating a public mass-transit system while on vacation, for example–can find some handy substitute apps. In addition to free services (HopStop is one), many cities have their own online guides and services to help visitors navigate their way around town.

Although Google is still working on a map app for iOS users, in the meantime, its Web-based Maps service can still be accessed using the browser that's built into the Apple iPhone 5 and other iOS devices.

What tips and navigation alternatives do you have? Let us know in comments, below.

Google Working on Maps for iPhone, iPad [New York Times]
Google Won't Be Bailing Apple Out of its Maps Problem Anytime Soon {The Atlantic Wire via Yahoo News]
Japanese Look for Alternatives to Apple's Maps [NY Times]

Paul Eng

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