iOS 6 maps keynote presentation

iOS 6 maps keynote presentation

Since the announcement of iOS 6 I’ve been worried about the fact that Apple’s default map application won’t have Vancouver’s transit information available within it like the original Maps application that was powered by Google Maps. I even started familiarizing myself with the Translink mobile site that I had previously ignored because maps was good enough. I feared that there would be a regression to a feature that I had come to rely on since public transit is my primary means of transportation.

While the mobile transit site proved to be surprisingly functional in storing the primary stops that I used, I mostly feared having to string together trip planning from a browser and the map application since I’ve never liked how the transit site handles addresses or business search for trip planning.

When iOS 6 launched I was glad that Wired pulled together some apps that would help tide over some iOS users. I downloaded all of the free apps from their list that support Vancouver and then went about trolling the app store to see what the selection is like. I installed the following apps:

Transit Pro

Now, I have to say that Transit is by far the nicest app of the bunch. I love how the app defaults to a real-time list of nearby stops and that I can change the direction by tapping on the route and then on an arrow that appears in the drawer that slides open. The point to point directions have been really slow or broken so far but if I were going somewhere familiar, like downtown, then this is the fastest way of knowing what buses are coming next since I don’t have to type anything.

The Transit App - nearby & real time

The Transit App – nearby & real time

Another noticeable fail with Transit was that tried to subscribe and couldn’t. The free trip planning is limited to 20 trips but for $.99 a month, $2.99 for 6 months, and $4.99 a year you get unlimited trips, which isn’t bad considering how nice the interface is. I tried to use the iOS 6 maps and selected transit information, and the map application bounced me over to the Transit app with all the trip details. So noted, that’s not as seamless as in the Google-powered era but given how the Transit app is more useful for getting next bus information quickly on familiar routes, I feel like I’ve come out with a better solution than what I had before.

The Transit App - Trip planning on the bus

The Transit App – Trip planning on the bus

For my iPad I tried getting transit directions without installing another app and was surprised that I was prompted to install HopStop for iPad, was bounced over to the app after installation,  and that it worked on the first try. Hopstop was the second best app since it did trip planning really well using iOS maps to show the route.

So in the end, nothing is really lost for Vancouverites, it’s just an adjustment. I’m genuinely impressed by Transit, which is actually better than Google Maps or the Translink mobile website. If this is just the beginning, then this should prove an interesting field of app and UI design to watch.

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