Apple takes Maps to the precipice

Apple takes Maps to the precipice

Summary: Apple's feud with Google has come to an ugly standoff. It's holding customers hostage and won't allow them to use the Google Maps app reportedly submitted to the App Store. Time to call in a negotiator.

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TOPICS: Apple, Google, iOS, iPhone
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Apple takes Maps to the precipice - Jason O'Grady

Apple made a radical decision in iOS 6: and it chose form over function. It booted Google Maps in favor of a homebrew Maps app in iOS 6 and the results are pretty ugly. There are literally dozens of websites that demonstrate the fiasco that is iOS 6 Maps, but this tumblr pretty will sums up the issue.

Apple has turned its Maps app for iOS 6 into a political football. By punting Google's map data Apple is putting its own interests before those of its customers. iOS 6 snubs Google's clearly superior Maps product for its own inferior one in what appears to be retaliation for Android's perceived infringement on iOS. (Apple did the same thing with its YouTube app, which it failed to upgrade since its release in 2007, then booted completely in iOS 6.)

Apple is at a crossroads. If it unneccessarily delays the approval of Google Maps for iOS 6 (which Google is rumored to have submitted to the App Store) it will be sending a clear message to its customers that it's no longer interesting in providing them with the best possible user experience. It will be saying that it's more concerned with punishing a competitor for a perceived wrongdoing -- at the expense of its customers.

Bad form.

If Apple has an issue with Google/Android it needs to settle it in a court of law (like it did with Samsung) and not use its customers as pawns in its petty turf war. We're customers damn it, let us decide which Maps application works best for our needs. Both Apple and Google should innovated like hell in their Maps apps and let iPhone users vote with their feet as to which one is best. 

I'm a little scared though. Apple has a nasty track record with its App Store approval process. 9to5Mac notes that Apple rejected the official Google Voice app in 2009 and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission launched a probe. Apple was eventually cleared, but it took over a year for Google Voice to get approved. Will it do the same thing with Google Maps?

Apple couldn't possibly deny Google Maps into the App Store because it "duplicates a native service." Could it? There are numerous map apps in the App Store from companies like TomTom, GarminNavigon, MotionXMapQuest/AOL, AT&T and even Google Earth. But stranger things have happened.

Last month, Google was put into the App Store penalty box again when its Google Search app was updated with Google Now, a Siri competitor that allows users to ask it queries in natural language, like "How many people live in Cape Cod?" (There's a video of it in action here.) Still no word on that one.

Apple needs to do the right thing and approve Google Maps and let the market decide.

UPDATE: ZDNet's Larry Dignan reports that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt tells Reuters that the company has not submitted an iOS-version of Google Maps to Apple's App Store. "We have not done anything yet," he said.

Topics: Apple, Google, iOS, iPhone

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79 comments
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  • DAMN YOU APPLE !!!

    DAMN YOU APPLE !!! Y U NO SHOW GOOGLE MAP !!! If Apple map not cover my city in next 6 month, I'll say good bye iPad, hello Android !!!
    Voltus
    • IOS 6 maps are pretty

      But useless.

      Apple has taken a big hit on its shining armor.

      Most Ifans will play follow the leader. Though businesses can't take those risks and will look for alternatives. Android is first choice, but it does open the gate for Windows 8 (I would take an iPhone over Windows 8 in a heart beat! And I never liked the iPhone and would never own one again based on Apple's blind eye to Foxconn problems and litigation practices as much as the at t traits users and developers. Its lousy and sneaky.).

      That doesn't mean I'm blind. Windows 8 has a huge opportunity and Android will dominate the enterprise with this flop.

      Apple has no choice but to allow Google Maps app on IOs. If it doesn't it will bleed market share and lose its standing.

      Apple will kick, scream, stay silent and try to ride this out. If it makes that mistake its in serious danger.

      Users should vote with their actions. You can expect that on Android. Its a dream on IOS. Though it may become reality.
      Uralbas
      • It's called Apple taste

        You don't understand.
        LBiege
      • Does that mean...

        Does that mean you won't ever own an XBox also? What about a Sony PlayStation? Amazon Kindle? Why single out one company? Plenty of well known companies for years now have had contracts with Foxconn including Acer, Cisco, Dell, HP, Motorola, Nokia, Toshiba, Vizio.
        dave95.
      • But Apple customers will NEVER abandon them no matter what

        Sadly, iUsers will take it because they have undying faith in Apple. It's a matter of worship. How can you question your God figure? How can God be wrong?

        iUsers are not like any other customer base. They are truly closer to a cult than any other customer base. More like a fanatic of a sports team. They stick by the team no matter if they're in first place or last and still by the season tickets.
        laequis
        • Apps Investment

          It's not necessarily a blind loyalty to Apple. In my case it is now a fairly large investment in hundreds of applications (including a number of mapping apps) for a couple of accounts/phones that keeps me around. It wouldn't be just a matter of switching phones but also rebuilding my entire application set that would cost me in additional time and money. I am frequently frustrated with Apple's behavior which I had hoped might improve once Jobs wasn't around any more, but obviously it is intrinsic to their "DNA".
          Graham99
        • U cannot speak for others

          I suggest you to speak for yourself. If you area an Apple customer (which I doubt), then you can say that you NEVER abandon Apple no matter what. If you aren't, how of why do you think that you know exactly what are they (or we) going to do?
          You deserve respect and you should respect others, and thinking they are stupid sheep is not to respect others. Of course, its harder to think that other can do what they find more convenient or suitable to THEM. Thank God, they buy their phones with their money, not yours.
          Erasmo Cepeda
      • HOW did Apple turn a "blind eye"

        to the issues at Foxconn? That independent thrid party investigation was paid for BY Apple, Apple reported the issues, and they also leaned on Foxconn to improve issues.

        By the same token there are similar issues at a factory Samsung uses - where is your righteous outrage over that? Let me guess because they are not Apple they get a free pass from you! Or it's not a human rights violation unless its a factory Apple uses.

        And thats not mentioning the other companies that use Foxconn such as Nintendo, HP, Dell, Sony... But they also get a free pass because of your hypocrisy and double standards.
        athynz
    • I'd love it if google withdrew it and left

      iPhone users with that crap pile.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Not in this Universe

        Google's primary business is collecting private data from Internet users. In any possible form.

        All of their services, from the freebies to the paid services exist solely for this purpose. Lots of people bite the bait, obviously.

        There is no way Google will want to willingly abandon this huge mobile users base.
        It's another story, if Apple hasn't provided the spyware hooks in iOS that Google software needs to work "properly".
        danbi
        • Like no other country collects your data

          Oh wait, that's right, apple were castigated for doing exactly that not so long ago.

          We know how evil you think google is, do we have to hear the FUD in every article.
          Little Old Man
          • I note

            That you did not deny that Google collects all the data they can. So does Microsoft. When Apple was castigated for doing the same thing it was during the Carrier IQ debacle that ALL OEMs and carriers were involved in - but sure you like a good little fAndroid single out Apple as the only one. Nice attempt at FUD - some iHaters will actually believe it.
            athynz
          • Be Realistic

            They all collect it.
            rhonin
          • Funny athynz

            that you don't call danbi for it? Funny, not strange as you don't mind google bashing but amazingly you call someone when they mention apple. Yes we know, you're neutral blah blah baaa.

            "Like no other country collects your data" was actually a typo, it was meant to read company but when I saw it I realised it applied equally.

            So you're partly right, I meant to say all companies do it but yes, I knew that if I mentioned apple you or one of the other true itards would be on soon to whine. You know as well as me, this game takes two to play.
            Little Old Man
          • You lose all credibility

            When you resort to derogatory name calling, itards, you are truly a "Little Old Man". Do you have something important and constructive to add to this conversation? If so do it without name calling. Now when I see your handle I will skip over all your comments; "Little Old Man".
            BubbaJones_
          • I never said I didn't have a bias

            But you tend to bash Apple while downplaying issues other companies have. Besides what danbi said was accurate - you still have yet to deny it. Now when Apple screws up I'm not going to excuse them or make apologies for them - Apple screwed up the wifi on the 4S devices and they need to fix it ASAP.

            BTW "iTard"? Really? How wonderfully mature of you. It's things like that and the "iBrick" that encourages me to take you less than seriously.
            athynz
  • These iOS 6 maps 3D images are rather funny! However, my home was found

    just fine (along with all the correct street names in my local vicinity.)

    I'm not here to defend iOS 6 Maps. Obviously, Google maps are better (but not infallible .. I know as do most everyone who reads this comment and also has had experience with Google maps themselves.) But there are other mapping resources available and iOS consumers will not be so terrible disadvantaged.

    I read a suggestion online about using the iOS Bing app from Microsoft. (I actually prefer Bing Maps to Google Maps especially Bing Maps "Bird's Eye View" feature.

    In time (oh, say about two years at most), Apple will, and this is just my opinion, have a legit map app comparable to Google's excellent map app.

    Until then, iOS users have plenty of other mapping options available to them until 1) Apple supports Google's Map application or 2) Apple updates their own map program to eliminate most of the "interesting" info being displayed that most persons would either be confused by, angry and annoyed with or just resort to another source for needed map info.

    I have read online that several vendors are offering iOS 6 Map "plug ins" that might supplement certain features lost with the switch away from Google's program. I don't know how beneficial these might be but .. there you go .. someone or some company will step up to "fill the map void" shortly.
    kenosha77a
    • Map usage!

      You will need the maps mostly when you are away from your local vicinity, just saying...

      Map info is huge. Google had years to harvest the info and perfect its software, I know perfect is a relative term.

      They were in the maps game before the smartphone days, when the pressure was not as much. I know this for a fact that Google employed an army of cartographers (or people with knowledge of cartography software) back in 2000-2001 in India, to constantly update their maps info. So I doubt Apple can fix their maps in 2 years time. (I know Apple is working on its maps and has bought 3 other companies, but

      Ironically, Google gathered a lot of map info from iPhone user base (when Android market was not there). And oh the irony, now Google does not need the iPhone user base as much as Apple needs Google maps, or other maps.

      I like Bing maps interface, but I only use them as a second choice when I can't find something in Google. 9 out of 10 times Google nails it. And the transit info on Google is unparalleled. I don't use transit info most of the time but when I take public transit to the airports.
      OpenEyes
      • Apple is in different business

        Apple is in the hardware/platform business. What they have done with the iOS 6 Maps is to provide way more technically advanced mapping platform that is technologically possible with the Google Maps. Most of this is not immediately obvious to the typical smartphone user, but very soon some of the improvements will shine.

        The primary difference (except the primitive tech Google uses) is that with Google, everything is controlled via one central place. Whatever you see on Google Maps is what Google sends you. Even if you have other sourced of better quality mapping information, with Google Maps you will never be able to use that. You see the world as Google wants you to see it.
        The iOS 6 Maps however, change that concept. The "central" system provides the basic mapping and routing (that's Siri, actually). But, via the iOS mapping APIs you can plug in any other source you wish. Have access to detailed, up to the minute source for public transport routing data (such as in how many minutes your next train arrives) right from the source of that information -- iOS 6 Maps will process it. Have your very own private mapping, routing and POI data, that you will never ever want exported to anyone, especially Google: you can use it with the iOS 6 Maps -- that data will never leave your device. And so on.

        There are way better mapping databases on the market than what Google has. Google's concept with these things is quantity over quality. With the (cash) resources Apple has, they can buy the services of any such mapping company (if they won't buy the company itself) and offer it for free to iOS users...

        Eventually, those who insist will be able to install Google's Maps app on their Apple devices and use these. Just, those apps won't be able to benefit from the OS mapping APIs. But, such is life.
        danbi
        • So apple failed

          to even get the core basics right.

          Your one man rant against google must really be hurting their advertising revenues.

          Or not at all.
          Little Old Man