Nokia comes out swinging after Apple's rocky iOS 6 Maps launch

Nokia comes out swinging after Apple's rocky iOS 6 Maps launch

Summary: It's handbags at dawn after Nokia seized the chance to make hay after a rare misstep by Apple, trumpeting its own maps efforts and accusing Cupertino of prioritising form over function.

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TOPICS: Nokia, Android, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone
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Nokia has pounced on Apple's rocky launch of its new Maps app for iOS6 to trumpet its own mapping and location service features.

Apple dropped Google Maps for its own Maps apps when it released iOS 6 this week. It's been a far from smooth transition, with Apple's homegrown maps app attracting numerous complaints from users, less than impressed with examples of odd rendering, out of date maps and locations that are just plain wrong (the German city of Berlin being relocated to Antartica is one notable example.)

iOS 6 maps
Apple's iOS 6 maps have had a rocky start. Image: Jason D O'Grady

Shortly after Apple's maps app hit the headlines, Nokia released its own benchmark poking holes in the mapping features the Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple's iPhone 5. 

Nokia took a swing at Apple's photorealistic maps, saying that "pretty" doesn't cut it for the "must have" mapping experience, and adding the mapping for its own flagship device, the forthcoming Lumia 920, will be the only service that truly functions offline. Samsung's, which uses Google Maps, does partially via caching, while the iPhone 5 needs a connection. 

"Unlike our competitors, which are financing their location assets with advertising or licensing mapping content from third parties, we completely own, build and distribute mapping content, platform and apps," wrote Pino Bonetti on Nokia’s official Conversations blog.

In another dig at Apple, Nokia said the Lumia 920 will also offer public transport directions across over 500 countries -- a feature Apple's Maps currently lack -- while its voice guided turn-by-turn navigation had the most comprehensive coverage in the world.

The Finnish handset maker needs maps, along with other features like its PureView camera and glove-friendly touchscreen, to deliver the differentiation it desperately needs to convince customers to switch from platform leaders Android and iOS.

"Our superior apps are built on the most accurate, automotive-grade Navteq maps, meticulously developed by over 20 years of know-how," said Bonetti -- a reference to Nokia's $8.1bn 2007 Navteq acquisition.

Topics: Nokia, Android, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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76 comments
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  • Kudos Nokia

    This is what everyone should want. Everyone. Yes. Everyone, including Apple fans.

    There SHOULD be differentiation in the smartphone market. Smartphone makers SHOULD be pushing the reasons why their product is better than the competition's. Apple does it all the time and they are cheered for it.

    I challenge you Apple fanbois, CHALLENGE you to congratulate Nokia on this approach.
    toddbottom3
    • Is that map of reality distortion field?

      Talking about stylish and art like. I think Apple should file a patent for that.
      LBiege
      • LOL!

        I thought it was the san andreas fault, but you could be right - this could be the first actual photo evidence of Steve Jobs' RDF!
        William Farrel
        • Maybe the SAF was his power source?

          In another first, I actually find myself agreeing with bottom. Well obviously not the incitement to strife, but the notion that choice is good for us.

          We probably differ in that in my masterplan Apple still exist, but for today we are on the same side, and we shouldn't be surprised either.

          Back in the early days of iPhone I got one of the first Nokia attempts at a smart phone, I wont't lie there were many issues, but I have always remembered their navigation technology.

          We are probably talking a good 5 years ago, but I had actual GPS, not assisted, and a maps app as good as google maps was on iPhones on tuesday.

          Now of course it was a bit gimmicky, and realistically that gps killed my battery in 3 or 4 hours, but at the same time brilliant. Sure most people don't share my enthusiasm for knowing their height above sea level, or their exact distance covered, but in the middle of the lakes I loved it, and hung on to that "tempory phone" for a while.

          To be honest, the fact that the iMaps app wasn't finished is shameful for such a big company, but I'm not letting google off either - sure dtreet view is amazing, but I never found the app so; clumsy and slow were my impressions by comparision; and that's both the iPhone and Nexus apps.

          It's good to see nokia being more vocal lately; as I say I'm due a new phone, but I've never found the choice harder, and that's frankly awesome.
          MarknWill
        • ....

          First evidence of Apple sucking its sheeple into The Matrix. Enjoy the ride, pretty boys.
          Han CNX
    • Which approach? It is just matter of who has better collection of databases

      Nokia shows that Apple's and Google's maps are lacking. But there are areas where Nokia's maps are lacking comparing to Apple's and Google's.

      Of course, for now Apple is the weakest of three. Considering that Apple did not spend $8 billion for mapping that was already done by others and just started, they do surprisingly well.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: DDERSSS

        So when the competition does it, they are behind the curve but when Apple does it, it's surprisingly well. Nice spin.
        Those who hunt Trolls
        • Exactly. And the example in this blog shows where.......

          Apple is headed. It's just a matter of time now for Apple. before the bottom drops out.
          Apple is Evil! Boycott Apple! They are nothing but an Evil Empire built atop an army of lawyers working to help them monopolize technology they've taken from others.
          The head theif, who said "We shamelessly steal great ideas" is no longer there to make sure that matra is upheld.
          xuniL_z
          • Excuse me...

            Excuse me but it was Apple that revolutionized mobile phones, tablets and the music business. They produce superior products, please check customer satisfactions stats.

            As far as the iOS 6 maps, obviously the product was not finished and it may have been a hasty move to release it. However, Apple did not want to be stuck with Google maps for another two or three years, as their current contract expired. I bet the maps will significantly improve over the next several months...
            prof123
          • Your not excused......just misinformed

            Blackberry revolutionized the mobile phone...... tablets have been out for over ten years just weren't practical, and there were many mp3 stores before Itunes. I am sure Apples mapping will get better but you are insane to think it will only take several months, more then likely 2-3 yrs.

            your customers service comment is very funny. People like yourself believe Apple can do no wrong. just because you can go get a new phone or tablet every time something goes wrong does not mean it is a quality product. In fact the very idea that they can just easily give you a new one and the amount of pure profit earned should throw up red flags.

            That being said Apple products are very nice. A little to bland and restricted for my liking but still a solid simple product that looks good. However it is when people like you attempt to justify overpaying for a product by claiming it to be the best that is just unnerving
            Gr33nback
          • Excuse me

            but they didn't.

            As to your last point, 'not finished' is a bit rich. Its not like transit information is missing, or walking. Tthe coordinates of MAJOR cities are all over the place, let alone other land marks. The map dataset is not even 10% of what it should be, the key fly over feature renders are extremely limited, in most cases completely asbent. Coming from one of the most cash rich companies on Earth, it is an absolute joke and not a very funny one. What is funny however, is how predictably the sacred suckered will flock to defend something so useless because it comes from their mother ship.

            Nokia is flailing and IT owns 8 billion dollars worth of a maps company. This is chump change to Apple. Where is Apples reinvestment in their userbase? Where are the improvements? You may have an A6 CPU in your handset there, but on top is the same tired old iOS and around is the same black bezel. If you want to know why so many people dislike Apple SO much, then this is pretty much the iconification of those reasons in a single result. There is never anything new or exciting in Apple land - it just stays the same gets a lick of paint and gets resold. Everything they sell is half baked and over priced.
            12312332123
      • In 2012

        A 'work in progress' application for something as important as navigation and maps is really not acceptable....smartphone customers cannot simply sit around and wait for Apple to get it right, they need a fully functional navigation app today.
        Doctor Demento
      • I'm guessing your excuses don't hold true in reverse

        you, it's OK for Apple to do something, but never anyone else.

        Am I close? ;)
        William Farrel
      • Apple did not build their own

        Over the past number of years Apple has purchased not one but two 3D mapping companies and assimilated them into the collective, Poly9 and C3. The latter had demoed their stuff in 2011 before getting scooped up by at the time an undisclosed purchaser (though Apple was assumed and later confirmed).

        Granted they were not as established as Navteq (and I'm sure they cost a lot less) but it's not like the started working on this from scratch.
        cbartonnh
      • Siri was purchase by Apple, and it was done by others, so, I fail to see

        your point.

        In a competitive environment, purchasing other companies is one way to stay ahead of the competition.
        adornoe
        • The point that all of Apple's map purchases costed like twenty times less

          ... money than Nokia spent.

          Of course for now Apple's maps are weaker, but we can talk about effective investments.
          DDERSSS
          • They are effective investments only when they work.

            Spending billions for maps that don't really work is know as a "poor investment".

            If they fail to get people to do what they where intended to do, then it is known as an "ineffective investment".

            This looks to be both.

            Oh, and how do you know what Nokia and Apple spent on their maps?

            I read that Apple spent twice as much as Nokia did, for apparently half of of what Nokia got.
            William Farrel
          • "Billions"? Apple only spent like $300 million on all three mapping ...

            ... companies. They might invested since then, and the tally is estimated at $500 million to date -- this is 20 times less than Nokia spent.
            DDERSSS
          • Apple's purchase of map might have been lower, but now, it's costing them

            more, since, they're going to have to spend more in development to just catch up, than Google or Nokia will. What they bought might have been "adequate" enough, but, in a competitive environment, adequate won't win you the battle. Apple is lucky that they have the cult following they do, otherwise, a misstep such as their maps, could have been their death knell.
            adornoe
          • So DDERSSS, your argument is......

            Apple got the better deal?
            By following your logic, OS X would be just as lacking considering they paid nothing for it. In classic Apple style, along the way they've conned open source into building features or extensions then cut the team loose and ran with their code.
            Karma has a way of catching up, and Apple found that out when their Mythical "inpenetrable defense shield" that apple backers have crowed about for years met up with reality and now the extremely large Mac botnet is just one example of Apple getting it's a$$ handed to it.
            Is the RDF weakening?
            xuniL_z