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Apple Maps Shows Google Where to Shove It

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LOCAL HERO
DailyFeed

In its epic battle to acquire as many of our eyeballs as possible, Apple (AAPL) delivered a stunning blow to Google (GOOG) this week at WWDC with the announcement of its very own in-house Maps app, ditching the search titan’s popular mapping service.

Coming with the updated iOS 6 available sometime this fall, Google Maps will be replaced by an Apple mapping application that comes packed with delicious features. It will incorporate real-time traffic information, turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions (for iPhone 4S and subsequent models only), and a “flyover feature” that includes 3D views -- a feature Google recently announced as well.

While some of these goodies (like the turn-by-turn) have been on Android platforms for a while now, their inclusion on Apple Maps should appease any users who may be stressed their favorite mapping service has been replaced.

Though visually similar to Google Maps, Apple’s service uses “vector-based map elements” to ensure smooth-as-silk graphics and text, and will place greater emphasis on elements like landmarks, upcoming exit signs, and remaining distances, even when the phone is locked. Currently, on the Google Maps app, the directions are annoyingly squished across the top of the screen.

The driving experience will be further enhanced by allowing users keep their eyes on the road by searching for directions using only their voice, via Siri. And, thanks to some key manufacturing partnerships, many future automobiles will come equipped with a Siri-activation button directly on the steering wheel, ensuring even safer navigation.

Also dinging the search leader is Apple’s announcement that the local search results incorporate info from over 100 million businesses paired with ratings, special deals, and reviews coming from Yelp (YELP). However, Google Local, which is incorporated into its Maps app, offers similar information from Zagat, Facebook (FB), and Google+.

Hopping into the map game, however, should be no surprise to Google or anyone else paying attention. Apple’s acquisition of C3 Technologies last year ensured a map battle was brewing.

Meanwhile, with its much larger screen, the app should appear even more beautiful on the iPad. But hopefully people will take advantage of Siri’s availability there as well, and keep their concentration on the damn road already.

(See also: With iOS 6, Apple Spawned a New Legion of Enemies)
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