updated 07:14 pm EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
UC Berkeley was birthplace of BSD Unix kernel used in OS X, iOS
Apple has again expanded its Maps program for both iOS and OS X by adding 3D "Flyover" support for the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the city of Berkeley and its University of California campus, which by happenstance is the birthplace of the original UNIX used as the foundation of both OS X and iOS. The 3d Flyover feature has generally been regarded as one of Maps' best features, alongside turn-by-turn driving navigation.
UC Berkeley campus in Apple Maps
The lack of such features, deliberately withheld from Apple by Google in order to popularize its then-fledgling Android system, forced Apple to create its own mapping technology. The Flyover feature, brought in as part of an acquisition of C3, has improved significantly in Apple's hands, however -- leading to several instances where Apple's Maps outperforms the 3D features of Google Earth, such as Hoover Dam, AppleInsider notes.
Google Earth (left) vs Apple Maps (right)
At the beginning of the year, Apple also added Flyover support for Helsinki in Finland and Cape Town, South Africa -- and just last month added the Spanish city of Cordoba, Australia's Perth and the French vacation resort town of Saint-Tropez. Updates in Maps are handled silently and nearly continuously, with Apple making error-reporting a priority and making it easy for users to submit issues and be notified when they are fixed.
Rival Google Maps continues to be a popular alternative on iOS, primarily for its Street View and transit direction features. Apple appears to be on track to adding transit directions to its own Maps app, having advertised for public transit feature engineers. Even without it, however, the improvements steadily introduced since its error-prone launch in 2012 have made the program the most popular mapping application on iOS, winning back users over time and as Google's map services have been seen to stagnate and some UI changes alienating users.