The first noise about iOS 6 was the missing Google Maps and the Apple Maps replacement which was panned as horrible, terrible, not ready for primetime. As it turns out, Apple Maps is really pretty good, the turn-by-turn navigation is among the best, and whatever location problems Maps has are few and far between (and likely to be addressed sooner, rather than later).
Still, for a week after iOS 6’s release, like millions of other iPhone users, I looked for alternatives. What I found was Waze. It’s a free app with community-based traffic and navigation.
That’s right. Real-time traffic conditions based on data provided by tens of millions of other Waze users shoved right into your iPhone. Check the cute icons on the screenshot below. Those are Waze users. Their iPhones contribute to Waze real-time traffic data.
Here in Chicagoland, traffic can be a mess (especially during an accident or in winter), so having real-time traffic alerts pop up on my iPhone has become a blessing in disguise.
Waze has more going for it than just traffic. There are accident alerts, gasoline prices, even voice alerts when you come upon speed traps. As traffic conditions change, Waze provides alternate routing.
Controls in Waze are a bit cartoonish in design but self explanatory. Users get points as they contribute information to the system. The more you drive, the more you get.
Waze is smart enough to know which roads you travel regularly, and can provide preferred routes, alternate routes, and comes with voice-guided navigation.
If there’s anything wrong with Waze it’s what using GPS and 3G or 4G LTE can do to your bandwidth and battery, especially if you’re on the road all day.
Did I mention that Waze is free? That’s amazing.