Apple touts their new 3D maps in iOS 6 as being brand new, but as it turns out, Nokia — of all companies! — beat them to it. That’s right, if you head over to maps.nokia.com right now, you can use what is essentially iOS 6 maps from your desktop browser.
Nokia’s maps are not only powered by C3 technologies, the same company that Apple purchased back in October, but they also behave almost identically to what you’ll find in iOS 6, offering the exact same controls, except without the multi-touch support. The maps even render in the same fashion as they do on iOS.
To run these 3D maps on your own computer, all you’ll need to do is install a small, 8.4MB maps plugin. On the maps page, just roll over the “map view” menu on the right hand side of the screen, and select “Get Maps 3D.” You will be guided to a page where you can download the plugin, assuming you are using a supported browser.
Google Chrome seems to work the best, although I’ve found that the performance of maps in iOS 6 is generally still better. It also appears that Apple’s maps provide a greater amount of detail than Nokia’s solution, although the difference is negligible. One thing Nokia has implemented that I wish Apple would pick up is the ability to choose from a list of predefined 3D cities, offering easy access to every area available in 3D.
Regardless, this is a neat way to experience what you can expect to see from iOS 6, which won’t debut until this fall.
Source: Nokia Maps.