Prior to the new updates, you could use the map feature on your iPhone to type in an address and get a map of a region. You could then zoom in and out with one or two tap of the screen, scroll up, down, left, or right by dragging your finger across the screen in the associated direction, get a satellite view of the map by tapping the satellite button, and bookmark the region by tapping the bookmark button.
If you wanted to find a particular location in the region, let’s say a restaurant, you could type in the name of the restaurant, do a search and get pin-pointed locations of that particular restaurant in the region. You could then tap on the pin of choice to get the address, phone number, and website of the restaurant you want. And, make a reservation by simply tapping the phone number to make the call.
To get from where you are to the restaurant, you would then map the trajectory by tapping the route button, check the traffic by tapping traffic button, and follow the turn-by-turn instruction to get to the restaurant.
But, how useful was this feature? Very useful, especially on such a small device as a mobile phone. However, there is one drawback – too many taps. With a feature such as this, you want the mapping process to be simpler, so that you can quickly Id your starting and ending points, map the route, determine traffic, and get the direction quickly.
Let’s see what the new updates offer.
With the new map update, you now can now automatically find your current location with a single tap of the location button at the bottom left of the screen (thanks to the Wi-Fi base stations and cell tower locations). You can then tap the direction button to fix your location in the start field, type in your destination as your end-point, tap the route button…and wala, the trajectory to your destination is mapped in a few seconds.
Now , how fast is that? Very fast. You can still do all the other stuff, like zoom in and out, scroll up, down, left, and right, get traffic conditions, and get different map views – including the new hybrid view where you can get a satellite view on top of a regular map view with street addresses etc., but only when necessary.
Also with the new drop-pin feature, you can drop a pin to pinpoint your current location, bookmark it, save it as start or end point, drag it around with your fingertips to a new location, and use it to map your path.
Are these map features perfect? Absolutely not. There is always room for improvement. But are they excellent as is? You bet, especially since this is only the second upgrade to the iPhone. Clearly Jobs and his entourage is listening and is making an effort to give the public what it wants. I am sure other smart phones will follow suit.
Now, if you want to access these updates, simply hop over to the itunes store and download the updated software for free and you are on your way. If you don’t have an iPhone yet, you can get one here.