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Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps 561

Posted by timothy
from the gnomes-in-the-glass-garden dept.
tlhIngan writes "So why did Apple decide to ditch the (working) iOS maps app with one based on their own data (despite having one more year to the contract)? It turns out to be turn-by-turn voice navigation. It wasn't a feature in the original Apple-Google licensing agreement, so Apple went back to Google to renegotiate what has become a top-tier feature on Android. Apple wanted it. In return, Google wanted increased branding in the maps app (Apple refused) or to integrate Latitude (Google's FourSquare competitor), to which Apple refused as well. As a result Apple was forced to seek other sources in order to obtain this feature." Eventually, iOS users who don't want to wait for Apple-Google parity will be able to download a native version of Google's maps (rather than a hacked version), but that could be a ways off.
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Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps

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  • by Tufriast (824996) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:48PM (#41479961)
    This is probably the most accurate, and intelligent read on the topic. His sources are very close to Apple; VERY close indeed. http://daringfireball.net/2012/09/timing_of_apples_map_switch [daringfireball.net] You'll notice that he says it was all about timing, and how much time was left on the clock.
    • by RedK (112790) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:02PM (#41480157)
      Of course, John Gruber would never post anything negative about Apple or would never admit to them making a mistake. So we can pretty much discount his opinion and pure "damage control". That's what he always does anyhow. I don't know why people still defer to him, he's basically Apple's PR machine, along with AllThingsD.com.
      • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:10PM (#41480299) Journal

        John Gruber would never post anything negative about Apple or would never admit to them making a mistake.

        You don't actually read his site, do you?

        -jcr

        • No need to.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by mystikkman (1487801) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @04:02PM (#41481679)

          You mean read his stupid crap snarky sneering comparisons on Amazon's earnings vs. Apple's ?

          http://daringfireball.net/linked/2012/07/27/amzn-profit-correction [daringfireball.net]

          Or calling Apple's competitors turds?

          http://daringfireball.net/linked/2012/08/01/nokia-nail-polish [daringfireball.net]

          Or his various hate filled diatribes on Google and Android? Or how he stated that Android would never overtake the iPhone? And then how he tried to muddy the waters by adding the iPad numbers to claim iOS' superiority? After even that failed, he(and his chums like Siegler) resorted to calling the Apple winner over Android because it takes 80% of the mobile profits! Like how MS wins the server OS market and the web server market and the IDE market with Windows Server, IIS and Visual Studio over Linux, Apache/nginx etc.

          For proof of his partisanship see his analysis of Apple's forced 30% cut of in-app purchases over which it kicked out a number of apps.

          http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/dirty_percent [daringfireball.net]

          Summary: Apple does it because it can and people complaining are doing so because they're jealous they can't do the same thing.

          In short, he's nothing but a partisan hack. Actually anyone would be, if they could earn $3000 per RSS ad while lounging around in pyjamas looking for tidbits of news and "analysis" to post pandering to the typical type of audience he attracts.

          • Re:No need to.... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Karlt1 (231423) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @04:45PM (#41482213)

            "You mean read his stupid crap snarky sneering comparisons on Amazon's earnings vs. Apple's ?"

            Is it not the truth?

            "And then how he tried to muddy the waters by adding the iPad numbers to claim iOS' superiority? "

            How so? When Google talks about "Android activations" do they leave out tablets?

            "After even that failed, he(and his chums like Siegler) resorted to calling the Apple winner over Android because it takes 80% of the mobile profits! "

            As a profit seeking entity, isn't profit the most important measure of success? How can a money losing company - i.e. every Android manufacturer except for Samsung and HTC (barely) be considered "successfully"?

            "For proof of his partisanship see his analysis of Apple's forced 30% cut of in-app purchases over which it kicked out a number of apps."

            http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/03/new-android-market-rule-prohibits-apps-that-use-third-party-in-app-payment-services/ [arstechnica.com]

            • Re:No need to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:10PM (#41482541)

              "You mean read his stupid crap snarky sneering comparisons on Amazon's earnings vs. Apple's ?"

              Is it not the truth?

              No, it's very misleading because Amazon is investing the profits into expansion which is way different from a company struggling to make money which Gruber wants to portray it as, comparing profit like the way he did is ridiculous. And it looks like it worked, with people like you thinking profits mean everything. Check the stock market reaction to earnings and you'll know why it is misleading.

              As a profit seeking entity, isn't profit the most important measure of success? How can a money losing company - i.e. every Android manufacturer except for Samsung and HTC (barely) be considered "successfully"?

              Because marketshare also matters, and Android is clearly winning there. Picking the metric that best suits Apple because Apple's losing on other metrics is a pretty lame tactic. By that metric Microsoft is winning over Linux and Apache in the server and web server market.

              Ah, the classic technique of showing Android is just as bad? But sorry, your own link says this:

              By comparison, Apple also prohibits the use of third-party payment systems in applications sold through its iOS App Store. A key difference, however, is that Google offers exceptions for retailers of physical and virtual goods (including ebooks). It's also worth noting that Android's support for application sideloading and alternate distribution channels will mean Android application developers have the option of not complying with Google's new rules, assuming they are willing to sacrifice the advantages of having a presence in the platform's standard marketplace.

              Which means you can buy ebooks from the Kindle app on Android, but you cannot on iDevices. Read it later was kicked out because of Apple's policy (which was ironic given that Apple used their OSS code in Safari for a similar feature).

              http://readitlaterlist.com/blog/2010/08/version-2-2-rejected-new-rejection-reason-from-apple-may-have-major-implications/ [readitlaterlist.com]

              Also, your link fails to address the fact that Microsoft allows third party payments in the Windows App Store. Perhaps you should try reading some other sources of news instead of living in the Daring Fireball bubble.

              • Re:No need to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Karlt1 (231423) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @06:53PM (#41483487)

                "No, it's very misleading because Amazon is investing the profits into expansion which is way different from a company struggling to make money which Gruber wants to portray it as, comparing profit like the way he did is ridiculous. And it looks like it worked, with people like you thinking profits mean everything. Check the stock market reaction to earnings and you'll know why it is misleading."

                Amazon has been in business since 1994. How many more years will Amazon be "re-invsesting profits" for growth?

                In 1997, Apple was nearly bankrupt, and now it has $100 billion in the bank. Which company has done better?

                "Because marketshare also matters, and Android is clearly winning there."

                So who does marketshare matter to?

                The OEMs who are all losing money except for Samsung and HTC (barely?)

                Google? Who according to there own testimony before Congress get 66% of their mobile profits from iOS devices? And then spent two years worth of their net income to buy the money-losing Motorola Mobility?

                The third party developers who get an average only a quarter for every dollar on Android compared to Apple?

                Web advertisers where iOS traffic is 4x that of Android traffic?

                http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57464763-37/apples-ios-grabs-65-of-mobile-web-traffic/ [cnet.com])

                "Read it later was kicked out because of Apple's policy (which was ironic given that Apple used their OSS code in Safari for a similar feature)."

                Huh?

            • Re:No need to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Solandri (704621) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @06:22PM (#41483239)

              "And then how he tried to muddy the waters by adding the iPad numbers to claim iOS' superiority? "
              How so? When Google talks about "Android activations" do they leave out tablets?

              Generally when one makes a prediction, one sets out the conditions by which the prediction will be measured at the time the prediction is made. e.g. If you make a prediction about phone OS share, then it's a prediction about phone OS share. If the prediction turns out wrong, you don't get to retroactively change it to include other data to make it arrive at the result you want.

              Within those confines, you're free to compare and predict whatever you want. If you want to make a prediction about phones, you make it about phones. If you want to make a prediction about phones + tablets, that's what you predict. If you want to make a prediction about iOS taking over the world and displacing Windows, that's what you predict.

              "After even that failed, he(and his chums like Siegler) resorted to calling the Apple winner over Android because it takes 80% of the mobile profits! "
              As a profit seeking entity, isn't profit the most important measure of success? How can a money losing company - i.e. every Android manufacturer except for Samsung and HTC (barely) be considered "successfully"?

              There are thousands of different metrics which one could use to measure success. If you're free to pick and choose which one to use after the fact, it's almost a statistical certainty that there will be some metric which supports your hypothesis. That's why all the investment firms advertising their "top-performing funds" are bunk. Whether or not they have some funds which out-performed the market by 40% last year is irrelevant. What matters is how likely a customer was to have picked one of those funds before they out-performed the market.

              That's why you need to set the conditions of a prediction at the time of the prediction. e.g. Investment firm predicts that their funds A, B, and C will outperform the market by 40% the following year. If you don't establish these conditions ahead of time, you're just cherry-picking data which fits your hypothesis.

              That's the criticism being leveled against Apple supporters. First it was all about the UI. Then when that was matched it suddenly became about size (screen size and thinness of the iPad). When those were surpassed, it suddenly became about market share. Since iOS is a distant second now, it's suddenly about profits. At this point it's obvious to pretty much all unbiased observers that Apple supporters are just cherry-picking whatever stats support their argument that iOS is superior.

              This has nothing to do with the conclusion of the argument - Apple products could very well be the best thing since sliced bread. But if the arguments supporting that assertion are this mutable and fickle, their reliability as an indicator of the strength of the conclusion is highly suspect. Statisticians, scientists, and people trying to be unbiased do not simply morph their argument every time it's disproven. They first question the validity of the hypothesis around which the argument was based. Failure to question the initial hypothesis is a pretty strong indicator of bias. Which was OP's point.

              "For proof of his partisanship see his analysis of Apple's forced 30% cut of in-app purchases over which it kicked out a number of apps."
              http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/03/new-android-market-rule-prohibits-apps-that-use-third-party-in-app-payment-services/ [arstechnica.com]

              The key difference here is that Apple's App Store is your only way to get binaries onto an iOS device. If you don't like Google's Market/Play policies, you can use any of the countless other markets for Android. Heck, you don't even need a market. Just put your Android app binary on any old web page and give people the URL.

              • by Karlt1 (231423)

                "There are thousands of different metrics which one could use to measure success. If you're free to pick and choose which one to use after the fact, "

                So what else do you think a company cares about besides profit and stock price?

                • by mjwx (966435)

                  "There are thousands of different metrics which one could use to measure success. If you're free to pick and choose which one to use after the fact, "

                  So what else do you think a company cares about besides profit and stock price?

                  Market share, long term growth, revenue, return customers v new customers.

                  It's a very stupid company that only measures profit and share price, I guess this is why so many US companies are in dire straights.

          • Re:No need to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:39PM (#41482837) Journal

            calling the Apple winner over Android because it takes 80% of the mobile profits!

            Where I come from, earning a profit is success. Earning 80% of the profit in a market segment is winning, big-time.

            -jcr

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You clearly don't read his blog regularly. He is frequently critical of Apple. He is on the record as saying the Apple "over promised, and under delivered" on Maps, and few people eviscerate iTunes on Mac more harshly than Gruber (which is saying something).

      • by Dhrakar (32366) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:15PM (#41480391)

        Actually, no. John Gruber is often an Apple apologinista, but he has been more than willing to call out Apple when he thinks they have done something wrong. For example, he frequently runs a "WTF App Store?" article on some odd App store rejection or other.

        • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:38PM (#41480721)

          Yeah, because if you nit pick the small stuff you can claim to be fair when you apologize for the big stuff.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pod (1103)

            Pretty much the definition of "fait and balanced" right there.

          • He was very critical of the guy who was going to "reorganize" Apple retail [daringfireball.net], that's no small thing :

            "“Even if the customer experience is compromised” are Allen’s words, summarizing what he heard from his sources, not Browett’s. But if they’re accurate, it’s hard to conclude anything other than that Apple made a terrible decision hiring him."

            That's just one of many criticisms. Apple fans are some of the most critical around, you just don't notice because you only follow the

            • Anecdotally, I don't know of anyone who was affected by this reorganization of Apple's stores to even bother to mention it. On the other hand, EVERYONE I know who has updated to iOS 6 or purchased an iPhone 5 has commented on how fucked the new Maps application is.

              This would imply, in my world, that the first issue is a fluff piece, posted to garner this false aura of fairness, and the latter is a huge fuckup that he's apologizing for like a good lap dog eagerly waiting his tickets to the next great thing u

              • Anecdotally, I don't know of anyone who was affected by this reorganization of Apple's stores to even bother to mention it.

                It affects all Apple employees in those stores as well as all customers who walk into those stores.

                This would imply, in my world, that the first issue is a fluff piece, posted to garner this false aura of fairness, and the latter is a huge fuckup that he's apologizing for like a good lap dog eagerly waiting his tickets to the next great thing unveil.

                Calling a senior Apple exec "a terrible hire" is a fluff piece and doesn't qualify as criticizing Apple ? It's your opinion but it shows your own bias at least.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:27PM (#41480547)

        Of course, John Gruber would never post anything negative about Apple or would never admit to them making a mistake.

        Actually he has; but let's say that's true.

        So we can pretty much discount his opinion and pure "damage control".

        I disagree. That's Apple's response, sure. But Gruber is really digging to find out what is going on, and he does as the OP says have very close sources. Even with the (valid) assumption the report comes through very Apple colored glasses, it still reads as probably quite accurate - can you find a flaw in his timing argument for example? That is a very well reasoned argument for why, if Apple was going to move from Google maps, they had to do so now instead of the exact end of the contract, for all the reasons he mentions.

        Gruber being biased towards Apple does not change any of the facts Apple was up against in making the choices they made, which we are getting from multiple sources beyond just Gruber (like Maps contract expiring in a year). The pro-Apple view comes into play more in thinking about the choices Apple made being either good or bad ones, not as much about the facts themselves when we have corroboration from elsewhere.

        Do not forget that BOTH companies are attempting spin control on this issue, not just Apple. Google for example wants to distract from Apple shipping 3D maps to consumers in an included map app first (yes they had Google Earth, but it was always more of a side project and not yet integrated into maps on mobile devices). Of course Nokia was ahead of both of them... it's interesting that no-one complained of similar 3D warping errors in that case.

        • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @05:15PM (#41482597)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_map_services [wikipedia.org]

          People forget they bought Navteq in 2007. Wonder why they did that now...

          Yahoo maps: Nokia
          Garmin: Nokia data
          Mapquest: Nokia data
          Navigon: Nokia data
          Onstar: Nokia data
          Amazon: Nokia maps
          Microsoft Bing maps: See the Nokia logo at the bottom?
          Pretty much every in car system on the planet uses Nokia data.

          The list just goes on and on. But why would a ***mobile*** phone company care? Did you notice I highlighted the word "mobile"?

          Now look at their new phones, the 920 now has "citylens" which is first generation augmented reality. You can use it to "see through" buildings to find things nearby. They added Nokia Transport public transport and Nokia Drive turn by turn navigation. Their music app gives you nearby gigs.

          Nokia phones are going to be *highly* context aware, with superb 2D & 3D data and superb POIs. Google's the only other company which is even close with respect to mapping on mobiles. As you've seen

          http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com]

          Apple Maps is now *years* (longer) behind in terms of data, they have a vast area to cover. They totally blew it when they told Google to go take a running jump.

          What I find amusing is that Apple have a hundred billion dollars that they have no idea what to do with. Looks like they're now going to have to try and hire thousands of Nokia and Google map experts (and no, we're not just talking about software developers, they are ten a penny in comparison).

          • What I find amusing is that Apple have a hundred billion dollars that they have no idea what to do with. Looks like they're now going to have to try and hire thousands of Nokia and Google map experts (and no, we're not just talking about software developers, they are ten a penny in comparison).

            They've been doing just that : "Source: Apple Aggressively Recruiting Ex-Google Maps Staff To Build Out iOS Maps" [techcrunch.com]. In an sector with, as you point out, very little competition this surely must be a good thing in the long run.

  • Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:49PM (#41479975)

    While in the short term, I think its a huge loss for Apple. I think it is good for consumers because it may create some competition in this space. There are no real competitors for Google Maps. Apple has a ton of cash and if they can get it done right, it may create a competitor in the space and spur innovation as they fight for market share.

    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Albanach (527650) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:05PM (#41480205) Homepage

      There are no real competitors for Google Maps.

      Other than Bing, MapQuest, TomTom, Garmin, iGo?

      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Baba Ram Dass (1033456) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:48PM (#41480877)

        You miss the point. Most Android phones have Google Maps preinstalled. Imagine if iPhones started shipping with something else. Doesn't matter if it's a custom Apple app or if they used MapQuest. The ubiquity of such a product would immediately provide significant competition to Google Maps. As an Android user I would love that if it means my Google Maps improves somehow as a result.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188)
        Whenever I see someone using MapQuest, I take five minutes out of my day and show them how to use Google Maps. SOOO much better. MapQuest sucks so badly iOS 6 Maps is an improvement.

        One thing that's interesting about your list is that at least two of those vendors (plus Google, and Yahoo, who use Nokia) have a web presence. I wonder if Apple is going to put Maps into iCloud. It'd be nice if you could do a search while at your desk at work, say, and save the search to iCloud and have it ready and wait
    • Nokia Maps is far better than Google Maps in real-life, according to my specific experience. 3D buildings and street view aren't that useful, so I don't miss them. Google Maps is severely outdated in Portugal, while Nokia Maps is more up to date (still not perfect).

      Of course, it doesn't really directly compete with Google Maps, unless they decide to offer it on Android and iOS, but the fact that Amazon went with Nokia Maps should at least prove they're at leats as good as Google's.

    • I agree, this is going to hurt Apple in the short term, but it's a great business decision and in the end users will win no matter who they go with because competition will cause improvement all around.

      Apple has already somewhat innovated (or at least done something better) in their unpolished product. They're using vector based map images [appleinsider.com] rather than the more images in Google maps. It allows you to see zoom in a more continuous fashion (as opposed to discreet zoom levels) and allows up to 300 miles of vi

  • by Rob Y. (110975) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:50PM (#41479991)

    You'd think Google could've gotten Apple to agree to patent detente in exchange for full map support with turn-by-turn and the works. Whether branded or not, Google would still get the search terms to use to improve their systems. I wonder whether this was even discussed. Then again, maybe both sides were so concerned about branding that they lost track of the bigger picture.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:59PM (#41480119)

      If Apple wouldn't agree to the essentially no-cost, no risk concession of more prominent branding why on earth would they render some portion of their patent arsenal worthless vis-a-vis their largest mobile OS rival?

    • by quacking duck (607555) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:00PM (#41480137)

      You pretty much hit on why Apple probably decided *not* to continue using GMaps. As part of its long-term strategy Apple is trying to remove from the core iOS and apps, anything that might help Google. This includes search terms to improve Google's systems (information denial), as well as any ad click-throughs on map search results (revenue denial).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)

      Apple had a couple of very harsh lessons in the past about letting a competitor control features that are strategically important. Google was dragging their feet on turn-by-turn navigation, so they had to go.

      -jcr

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Exactly iOS maps wasn't updated feature wise since the original iPhone in 2007.

        Google and apple couldn't come to terms and as a result iOS mapping suffered.

        Intelligent people don't buy only from one company. You diversify as much as possible to prevent the vendor from strangling you. Doesn't matter if it is apple, google ,Msft ,dell or sco.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          Intelligent people don't buy only from one company. You diversify as much as possible to prevent the vendor from strangling you. Doesn't matter if it is apple, google ,Msft ,dell or sco.

          Yet Apple's response was not to approach alternative mappers like Mapquest, Bing Maps, Garmin, etc. They're response was to build their own.

          "Not Invented Here Syndrome" is a pretty prominent anti-pattern.

          • by Cinder6 (894572) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @03:31PM (#41481377)

            They did approach alternative mappers, however. Apple Maps uses TomTom "and others" according to the app itself. What Apple rebuilt was the UI.

          • Yet Apple's response was not to approach alternative mappers like Mapquest, Bing Maps, Garmin, etc. They're response was to build their own.

            "Not Invented Here Syndrome" is a pretty prominent anti-pattern.

            This is pretty inaccurate. They bought some geospatial companies and made some modifications to their products. This is essentially what Google has done for over ten years.

      • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @06:50PM (#41483457)

        Google was dragging their feet on turn-by-turn navigation, so they had to go.

        Google wasn't dragging their feet, Apple was refusing to pay for the feature.

    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:37PM (#41480707) Homepage Journal
      Apple, by all indications, was significantly funding the development of a competitors platform through licensing payments to Google. The competitor, Google, provided significant technology for Apple, but refused to provide the most advanced technology for Apple. Google was acting rationally by playing hardball on exclusive technology for Android. Apple is acting rationally by saying we are no longer going to fund the development of Android.

      Apple has a user base and has time to create a better map software, just like they were given time to make a better phone. OTOH, with Apple Maps in disarray, all the Apple users who are locked into contracts are going to be looking for better maps. There are better navigation maps that cost very little money on IOS. Mapquest, as a has been mentioned, is a good alternative. With increased use and more ad funding, Mapquest can be very good. Mapquest was what we all used before google came along with it's pretty pictures.

      The danger here is 100% google. If users do not see a Google App in the next few weeks, many will have gone other places. For travel, the thing Google has is Buses. Mapquest, for instance, has the ability to match that. It has in some cities. For many Apple users, the new maps is good enough. Google took a risk and lost some branding.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:53PM (#41480037)

    Google wanted increased branding in the maps app (Apple refused) or to integrate Lattitude (Google's FourSquare competitor), to which Apple refused as well. As a result Apple decided to seek other sources in order to obtain this feature.

    FTFY.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @03:05PM (#41481073)
      One wonders what WOULD have been acceptable terms for apple. "We demand you give us turn by turn navigation. In exchange we will allow you a limited existence on the iphone. Which WILL BE the only mobile platform out there once we sue all your pathetic android makers into oblivion! MUHAHAHAHAH!!! BEG FOR YOUR MOBILE LIFE, GOOGLE!!!!"
  • Win for Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:54PM (#41480049)

    You don't help your enemy when he's digging his own hole. I'm sure Google is loving this, and is in no rush to release their Maps app.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:00PM (#41480129)

      You don't help your enemy when he's digging his own hole.

      The first part of that, "you don't help your own enemy", is exactly why Apple needed to stop using Google for maps...

      But if they were smart they would be eager to release an app. After all, from this point on Apple is going to start using the maps feedback to improve the map. Now while so many people are criticizing the Apple maps is the time for Google to stand up an alternative map app for people to get used to using; if they did so they might not switch back to using Apple for maps for some time, and Google could continue gathering valuable information about map use.

      If Google could actually kill Apple by not giving map support that would be one thing. But that's not going to happen, so it would be better to do something that helps Google more even if it helps Apple a bit also.

      • It boggles my mind that Google was supposedly caught flat-footed, and was unable, after several months (since iOS6 was previewed), to either develop and submit a maps app, nor have a mobile web version with a key feature that Apple's maps lacks: Street View. Initially Apple was accused of deliberately holding up or denying approval of an actual app, but word from Google's top exec is that they're far from even being ready to submit an app.

        It's a lost opportunity for Google, not being able to grab angry iOS

        • They do want to grab angry iOS users. But they want to do so by switching them to Android instead. And, quite possibly, for the users to accumulate some ill will towards Apple even if they won't switch just yet.

          • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:55PM (#41480959)

            They do want to grab angry iOS users. But they want to do so by switching them to Android instead.

            It's true in the short term that Google may get some new Android users out of this. But not nearly as many as they have lost from Apple switching maps away from Google (well over 100 million iPhones running around now). If Google had a mapping app ready now, they could have got a significant percentage - say 10-20 percent - of them back as Google Maps users.

            Longer term Apple will be able to use a large number of people to rapidly improve map quality. Longer term people will find that apps are providing better transit guidance than Google is able to give, and third party transit apps are integrated into Apple maps in a way that Google is unlikely to follow with since Google is trying to gather data about what you want to do, and they are blind if you go into a third-party app for transit.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:55PM (#41480055)

    First of all, start out by trying to use the new map. In your area it may be fine; it has been for me so far. It seems like Europe and other areas the data may be more wonky at the moment.

    But if you really find you cannot use Apple maps, there are other alternatives:

    1) Just use maps.google.com in a browser, you can also save the direct link to your home screen.
    2) Use the Bing app which includes Bing maps.
    3) Use an app based on Open Street Maps which generally have good maps in highly populated areas - Waze is free and also does crowdsourced traffic/hazard/police reports.
    4) Use any of the offline mapping solutions like Navigon.
    5) The Yelp app can help you find businesses in an area if you feel like Apple's Maps is not listing them.
    6) There are apps that display StreetView images if you still rely on that.
    7) Look and see what Apple Maps offers you for transit maps in the area as they can also be useful for finding other things or just getting around town.

  • by Steve1952 (651150) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @01:56PM (#41480077)
    In retrospect, Apple should have kept Google maps in iOS for another year, and rolled out iOS maps first as an app. That way they would have had time to debug, and get a more graceful market introduction. I suspect that the problem is that Apple did not do enough iOS maps testing in advance, and was blindsided by all of the post-launch problems. Given that this is a safety issue, this is actually a pretty big fail.
    • by Bigby (659157)

      But Apple relies on release-time shock factor. If they pre-release anything, then it will remove that. Look at Sirii marketing. They want to explode onto the scene with their new product...not trickle.

    • by Cinder6 (894572) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:41PM (#41480761)

      This article has a good rundown of why Apple didn't want to wait another year: http://daringfireball.net/2012/09/get_the_fainting_chair [daringfireball.net]

      Basically, Apple didn't want to have another year without a "built-in" turn-by-turn solution, even if the new one is buggy for some users. Another reason for making it a core app (that I haven't seen others state) is that it means all iPhone 4S and 5 users can simply fire up Siri and say, "Take me to 123 Fake St.", and it will work the same (well, it will once they fix the issues) on everyone's phone. That's a big selling point, as at this time, apps from the App Store don't work with Siri--not even Apple-made apps.

    • by Sparks23 (412116)

      Except that, according to the article, that was exactly the problem: Google Maps would expire mid-next-year. Which meant either they'd have to sign another contract — and I would be *stunned* if, in such a situation, Google didn't demand Latitude be included or some other sort of data-collection concession — or have Maps go dark *during* iOS 6's lifetime, requiring Maps to be replaced in a point-release, rather than changing over at a major OS release.

      Whether or not I think this was a great dec

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:01PM (#41480143)

    Eventually, iOS users who don't want to wait for Apple-Google parity will be able to download native a native version of Google's maps

    You mean an application that duplicates the functionality of a built-in app?

    You really think Apple is going to allow this in the iOS store?

    • by Scowler (667000)
      Yes, I think they are going to allow it. Next question?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by serbanp (139486)

      You mean an application that duplicates the functionality of a built-in app?

      You really think Apple is going to allow this in the iOS store?

      I'm wondering about the legality of such a rule. Back in the day, Microsoft got a lot of flak just for having IE built in the OS; imagine what would have happened if they would have said: "sorry, Win95 has a built-in web browser, there is no need for an alternative browser, such as Netscape, and we won't allow it!"...

      • by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @03:12PM (#41481155) Homepage Journal

        You mean an application that duplicates the functionality of a built-in app?

        You really think Apple is going to allow this in the iOS store?

        I'm wondering about the legality of such a rule. Back in the day, Microsoft got a lot of flak just for having IE built in the OS; imagine what would have happened if they would have said: "sorry, Win95 has a built-in web browser, there is no need for an alternative browser, such as Netscape, and we won't allow it!"...

        the apple defense is that they aren't a monopoly.
        that's the apple defense to all allegations about unfair practices, pretty much.

  • | Eventually, iOS users who don't want to wait for Apple-Google parity will be able to download native a native version of Google's maps (rather than a hacked version),
    | but that could be a ways off.

    That's not a given. Normally Apps that replicate builtin functionality in the iPhone are banned from iTunes. So Google might be working behind the scenes, although I'd guess that will be the more general applicable merging of Google Earth/Maps data sets, but till Apple commits to allow Google Maps, Google will n

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      As far as I know, that practice has long since been abandoned. On my phone right now, I have the following apps that duplicate core functionality:

      Chrome
      Sparrow
      Gmail
      Google Voice (one of the big-name apps that caused the controversy in the first place)

      In the App Store, there are tons of calculators, music players, cameras, web browsers, and navigation/GPS apps. In my list above, I only listed things that I felt truly duplicated functionality rather than expanding or focusing it (such as AroundMe or GraphCal

  • It's Google's fault you don't have decent maps because they wouldn't give Apple what they wanted.

  • I dunno, it seems pretty straightforward to me. Apple does not like having their OS and user experience dependent on some other company's timetable (see also: Flash). They also like to have alternatives (see also: Pages, Keynote, etc). So it is not at all surprising that Apple would migrate away from Google's maps once Google and Apple started down their separate roads. They have been acquiring mapping companies and expertise for a couple of years now so this can't have been a surprise to Google eith

  • I thought Apple had a policy that you cannot create apps that compete with their existing apps. Didn't Slashdot cover some rejections of email apps and browsers that were rejected for this reason? I bet Apple would not be happy about people using a Google maps app on the iPhone since Apple now considers Google a competitor.

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:15PM (#41480389)
    i still think of Cisco.
  • A Few Key Points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by organgtool (966989) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:16PM (#41480397)
    From the summary:

    As a result Apple was forced to seek other sources in order to obtain this feature.

    Apple was not forced to do anything. They chose to seek other sources because they wanted full control.

    From the article:

    Requiring iPhone users to look directly at handsets for directions and manually move through each step — while Android users enjoyed native voice-guided instructions — put Apple at a clear disadvantage in the mobile space.

    Apple had plenty of opportunities to improve their navigation app without Google's help. For starters, they could have made it so that the phone wouldn't lock itself when in navigation mode. I can't count the number of seconds I had to take my eyes off of the road to enter my password. Apple: people use this app while operating a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds - I thought you were the guys that put thought into the user experience of your software. I hope for everyone's safety that this "feature" has been fixed.

    And finally, I'm not trying to troll here, but I can't help but wonder how all of this would be playing out if Google had patented every trivial feature of their map and navigation software like Apple does for all of its apps. That would certainly have made this scenario a hell of a lot more interesting.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @02:44PM (#41480815)

    A lot of people are thinking that the Apple Maps errors are just going to be shrugged off – that in a few months or a few years, they'll reach "good enough" status, and everyone will just forget this embarrassing incident. But I think it goes deeper than that. A major part of Apple's appeal, one big reason why they have been able to charge premium prices and get people lining up to buy their stuff, is that their devices "Just Work." Other companies routinely used their customers as beta testers (this is why it's common knowledge that you never buy a new version of Windows or Office until at least the first Service Pack is out). But Apple avoided that.

    No longer. For Apple Maps users *are* beta testers, make no mistake about it. Apple's primary method of map improvement is for users to report problems [imore.com] so they can be fixed. This is unpaid QA work. This is not what Apple's customers thought they were signing up for.

    Add that to the fact that the new Lightning connector on the iPhone has an IC designed solely to prevent creation of compatible cables [tomshardware.com], and of course the numerous lawsuits against Android vendors. It's increasingly starting to look like the post-Jobs Apple is no longer putting the customer experience first. Oh, they always cared about making money, but they understood that their business model was to make money by making the customers happy. Even moves that could be seen as anti-competitive, like the walled garden, could be justified from a user experience perspective (non-technical users probably *shouldn't* be randomly downloading un-vetted executable code, for security reasons). But with Maps, for the first time, they are sacrificing a significant aspect of user experience to internal politics. It is an ill omen for the future. If they continue on this road, what separates them any more from Microsoft, except that MS has a bigger installed base of business users?

  • ... then *ALL* of the hardware that the iOS upgrade was compatible with would support the feature.

    Voice turn-by-turn is not available on the iPhone 4 or 3GS.

    So about the only significantly new feature... and most importantly, the alleged "killer feature" of the app, isn't even available for a a lot of existing iPhone owners.

    It reminds me a lot of the whole Sony removing the "other OS" feature on the playstation debacle.

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