One of the many changes that you’ll find in iOS 6 is the departure away from Google Maps and toward Apple’s own Maps app based on OpenStreetMap data. So, which is better and how do they compare? The best way to determine that is to look at them side by side.
You might already be familiar with the look and feel of the new Apple Maps, since Foursquare recently jumped ship over to OpenStreetMap too. It’s very fresh and clean-looking, but that comes at a significant price: it lacks details. When you look at the equivalent Google Maps image for the same area, you’ll find that Google bombards you with much more information about street names, transit stops, and points of interest. You only start to get some of this extra information when you zoom in quite a bit, which can be annoying if you’re trying to look for a specific street.
Similarly, traffic on Apple Maps is still quite lacking in information, but the crowdsourced nature of OpenStreetMap will hopefully improve that as iOS 6 is adopted by more people. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps do a good job of providing directions, but they do have their respective strengths: Google Maps can give you public transit directions, but Apple Maps can give you turn-by-turn directions. Google Maps is also the only one with Street View at the moment, though Apple Maps has that Flyover feature.
The shift to greater simplicity has always been a part of Apple’s M.O., so it’s not really surprising to see that Apple Maps is generally simpler than its Google counterpart. It’s simplicity at the price of more robust information.