Google launches 3D maps on iOS ahead of Apple

Remember Apple's last keynote showing the new features of the upcoming iOS6? In case you missed it, Apple switched away from Google Maps to include a solution of their own. One of the touted features was the ability to view certain cities in 3D, but it looks like Google is one step ahead.

Google updated Google Earth for iOS yesterday, with new 3D imagery for a limited number of cities, including San Fransisco, Boston and Los Angeles, and Rome as the only city not in the United States. Android users have been able to use the feature since late June, but desktop Google Earth users still have to wait for an update. Google's effort to bring the imagery to mobile devices first, could indicate that the company wants to be ahead of Apple in an area where Google has dominated for many years.

Some iOS users are left out though, because the 3D images which are rendered on the fly require a lot of processing power. Only the iPad 2, the new iPad and the iPhone 4S will get the 3D imagery, if iOS 4.2 or newer is installed. Other iOS devices still get the update that was released yesterday, which also includes a new tour guide feature, but without the 3D cities.

Source: Techcrunch | Images via TechCrunch

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Just tested it out on my iPad 3. Everything looks like chocolate melting in a noon sun. I'm not sure how practical this is - maybe if you're a pilot and fly VFR?

the420kid said,
and who was clamoring for 3D maps besides no one? I'm not sure what is a worse gimmick - this or Siri.

3D cities could be considered an extension of detailed satellite imagery.

Data Ghost said,

3D cities could be considered an extension of detailed satellite imagery.

Satellite imagery was/ is really detailed and useful. This 3D is so low resolution, there's no way anyone can find their way by it - which is pretty much what maps are for. I'm only speaking of the iPad version - maybe a desktop version will be better?

Also at the moment Google has less 3D cities present than the beta of Apple maps.

Its also worth noting that while the 3D cities are noticeably poorer than Apple's (texture quality/models) they take significantly longer to load.

Just had a look an San Fransisco, what can I say, it looks pretty crappy...
If this is how far 3D maps have come they might just as well keep it for tech demos another while and just bring it to us when it's actually useful for something and doesn't look so bad, and that goes for Apple too.

Would be far more interested to see Googles own map app launch on iOS, we know it's coming.