Anthony Drendel, a resident of China, reporting on the improvements that iOS 6 maps bring for those — oh — 1.3+ billion people living in China:

Apple has chosen AutoNavi to provide map services within China. That was a smart move, because AutoNavi is a local Chinese company that provides very detailed maps of China. Google was never going to be able to map China as well as it has other parts of the globe because the Chinese government doesn’t trust the motives foreign companies—and it especially doesn’t trust Google.

Interesting because it sounds to me like, internationally, it is a really mixed bag. I am hearing that England and France got worse, now China is better. In the U.S., from what I have seen is visual oddities and slightly inaccurate placement of businesses. However, there are more local businesses in my testing, especially outside of big cities.

Either way, let’s say Apple gets maps on par with Google results in 18 months (I’d say 6 months if I were betting money), and keeps improving in huge markets like China — that’s nothing but pure profit for Apple because now they are giving Chinese people a real reason to choose (official) Apple devices over other devices. That could be huge.

Update: Or maybe this isn’t new, Michael DeGusta:

@benbrooks I mentioned this on Twitter, but Mr. Drendel is completely wrong about China maps. iOS 5 / Google use AutoNavi as well, iOS 6 just shows more of the places at a wider zoom. (Meanwhile, ~225 cities in China lost transit & traffic seems reduced)

Posted by Ben Brooks