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Since it just came up in a Twitter conversation, I figured I might as well remind everyone about the biggest bummer in iOS 6: The new Maps app doesn't have public-transit directions, like the old Google Maps-based Maps app did in iOS 5 and earlier. The new Maps app doesn't leave you totally high and dry, though -- it suggests alternate apps for your location. But there's one little problem...
This is the Directions screen in iOS 6's brand-new Maps app. (You get here by tapping the Directions icon in the top-left corner of the main Maps screen.) It looks just like the old version -- you enter some start and end points, and the little tabs let you request driving directions (the default), walking directions, and transit directions, aka the little bus icon we have selected above.
The old Maps app has transit directions baked right in. Awesome transit directions, that somehow knew just which bus or train you should take, and even when it arrived.
But in iOS 6, that's gone -- that data was from Google Maps, and in iOS 6 the Maps app is totally rebuilt with no Google Maps data at all. Apple partnered with TomTom, among others, for the map data itself, and surprise, TomTom is pretty car-focused. So as a workaround, Apple allows third-party developers who make transit apps to submit the coordinates in which their apps work, and when you request transit directions from the Maps app, you see... a screen of third-party transit apps for that area.
Here's what it showed me when I asked for transit directions from Alamo Square, in San Francisco, to AT&T Park:
OMG there's an app for that!
But how the heck am I supposed to just guess which one I need? Since I actually do live in San Francisco, I know that the CalTrain and BART don't get super close to Alamo Square, And the bike apps are a nice offering but not interesting to me in particular since I don't own a bike right now (I'm between bikes).
So Lumatic City Maps or The Transit App (cool name, bro) might work, if they include MUNI buses, but I have to dig in to the App Store listings and reviews to really know for sure, and then tap Install, enter my password, wait for it to load, open it up... and all the time, the bus to the ballpark is rolling along without me.
I already had a Twitter friend in New York City lament today that this change will prevent her from upgrading to iOS 6 until a proper, official edition of Google Maps comes out. And I agree, that's a bummer. iOS 6 is awesomesauce. Except this transit problem.
Anyway, you can always use the mobile-optimized version of maps.google.com -- it's a little clunkier but it works just fine, as long as Mobile Safari has access to your location data. Here's what I got:
Semi-lovely transit directions via Mobile Safari on iOS 6.
And clicking the Map View link at the top right showed me this:
Google Maps in Mobile Safari suggests I take the 22 bus to the N-Judah train to the ballpark. Wasn't that easy?
Of course, it's a far cry from the old iOS 5 and earlier's Maps app and its beautiful built-in transit directions. Here's the same query in Maps on my iPad running iOS 5. Read it and weep -- I certainly am.
No sign of an official Google Maps app yet, but if/when it drops, it'll be big news. Until then...