Apple’s new native iOS 6 Maps application has endured it’s fair share of warranted criticism since its launch last Friday. However, the narrative is a little different in China.
Apple’s version of Maps for the Chinese market is being praised as a “huge improvement over Google Maps.” The difference is easily discernible by the screenshot above, and while there is considerably more information present in Apple’s Maps application, there are still some features missing due to Chinese law.
Apple’s Maps in China benefit from data provided by the most widely used mobile mapping service in China AutoNAvi Holdings, according to The Wall Street Journal. The AutoNavi partnership means Apple’s Maps will contain more detail than competitors’ offerings.
However, there are a considerable number of shortcomings in Apples’ Chinese version of Maps, most notably the lack of any integrated Maps data outside of China which is supplied by TomTom to Apple. Also, turn-by-turn directions, 3D flyovers and satellite imagery for other countries are absent.
Apple’s AutoNavi integration has expanded Maps coverage from “big cities and tourist centers” to the rest of China.
"In my experience, the new version of Maps zooms in much further, shows more points of interest, clearly labels banks and cellphone shops (China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom), and gives the locations of ATMs and public restrooms (my original iPad running iOS 6 doesn't show either of those things). The killer feature, though, is that iOS Maps shows both English names and Chinese characters for everything, whereas Google-powered Maps only shows the English translation," Chinese iOS 6 Maps user, Anthony Drendel wrote.