Best iOS App Of 2012 Winner Is… Google Maps


Google Maps: right here
Google Maps: right here

Our readers have spoken. The best iOS app of 2012 has been selected. And the winner, by a considerable margin, is: Google Maps. Woot!

Google Maps is an excellent replacement for the maps we loved and lost with the introduction of iOS 6, and Apple’s own woefully underprepared mapping data.

It took just a few hours for Google Maps to leap to the top of the App Store charts on the day of its release. So many people were desperate to get their hands on it, desperate to have Google’s better maps on their iPhones. Even non-techie friends of mine were eager to download it.

The UI is sleek and unobtrusive – it gives the maps the room they need, so you can actually see what you’re doing with them. Many controls and features are hidden out of sight completely, or only come into view when context requires them. What initially looks like a very simple app ends up being subtly complex and thoughtfully put together. It’s also fast, in most circumstances – something you really appreciate when you’re standing in the freezing cold on a street corner, unsure whether to turn left or right.

There are some disadvantages. Using Google Maps means you don’t get the tight integration with other essential apps – like Contacts and Calendar – that you get using Apple’s own Maps app.

But as I said back when I first reviewed the newly released app, so much of this is about trust. Apple’s maps might be better than many people say they are, and they might be improving day-by-day, but those initial problems destroyed people’s trust in them. Google’s maps are different: people trusted them before, and they trust them now. No wonder this app stormed up the charts so quickly. People were grateful to get hold of maps they could trust.

Apple still faces a long uphill climb to win back some of that trust.

Google Maps won our final round of voting with 39% of the vote.

Paper, by FiftyThree, came in second place with 14%.

Clear by Realmac, and Angry Birds Star Wars by Rovio and Temple Run by Imangi all came joint third with 12% each.

Atebits’ popular strategy-wordgame Letterpress was in final place with 10%.

Once again, our thanks to everyone who voted, and congratulations to all the finalists.

This is me wishing all Cult of Mac readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.