Japanese tech journalist Junya Ishino discovers all the fun he was missing ditching Apple Maps on iPhone all these years. He mentions the disastrous 2012 launch, the notorious Pachiko Gundam station fiasco but notes that Apple Maps has not been standing still. He gives it another try. Here are the things he likes.
Suica insuffiient fare warning
iPhone 7 with Suica Apple Pay integrates well with Apple Maps transit and warns you if your Suica balance is too low to pay fare on a planned transit route. It also offers a recharge option. I don’t travel much outside of Tokyo or find the feature useful, but Ishino san does.
Google has this too and Uber is limited to a small part of Tokyo with a small fleet to match but Ishino san thinks Apple Maps Uber integration is tighter and easier to use than Google. Apple Maps Japan would be more useful if it integrated native taxi apps such as Japan Taxi.
Ishino san is less enthusiastic about Apple Maps Japan Transit and finds it short on features compared to Google and Yahoo Japan Map. Route searching by departure and arrival times is a kludge, sorting by the fastest, cheapest or route with fewest transfers like transit leader Yahoo Japan Map is impossible. Apple Maps Japan Transit shows promise but has growing to do.
3D Touch and Recents
Ishino san thinks 3D Touch is a perfect fit for maps. It strips away unnecessary steps and taps for route searching, phoning and sharing. He also finds 3D Touch integration in Recents useful, which it is. There is plenty of untapped potential here.
AirDrop and Continuity
Last but not least Ishino san finds AirDrop useful for sharing map locations and routes, and likes how recents are shared on all devices, iOS and macOS, when logged in with the same Apple ID. Simple and convenient.
Ishino san is not ready to make Apple Maps his default map yet: 3rd party place data is weak and Japan transit is still a work in progress. But he thinks it is worth adding Apple Maps Japan back into his navigation toolkit.