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Mobile Tech

Google Prepping Maps App for iOS 6, Reported in Beta

Google Prepping Maps App for iOS 6, Reported in Beta
November 17, 2012 8:26AM

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When iOS 6 emerged in mid-September, Apple's Maps app replaced Google's, apparently part of the ongoing competition between the two giants. But Apple's Maps has received so many complaints and bad reviews that Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a rare apology to customers. Whether Apple would accept a rival Google Maps app for its App Store is unknown.

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Google is readying a gift for users of iOS 6 devices. According to news reports, the technology giant is preparing to submit to Apple its Maps app for that new operating system.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Google has distributed a beta version to testers outside the company, and is putting on finishing touches. The paper cited "a person with direct knowledge of the matter."

This could set up the Battle of the Map Apps, as Google's popular application goes head to head with Apple's new, poorly received one. But acceptance on Apple's platform is not yet assured for Google. Apple-originated apps cannot be deleted, so Google's app would have to co-exist. Additionally, Apple is under no obligation to accept Google's offering into its App Store, and has been known to reject apps that compete with its own.

Apple's Maps Fiasco

When iOS 6 emerged in mid-September, Apple's Maps app replaced Google's, apparently part of the ongoing competition between the two giants. Apple had also replaced the native video player for Google's YouTube video site. Apple has claimed that it replaced Google Maps with its own because Google had been updating the version for its own mobile platform, Android, but not the one for iOS.

But Apple's Maps has received so many complaints and bad reviews that Apple CEO Tim Cook formally issued a rare apology to customers. In a letter posted on the Apple Web site in late September, he said that "we fell short" of the commitment to "make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers."

And, although it's not clear if it was related to the Maps fiasco, Apple iOS head Scott Forstall recently left Apple.

There have been many complaints about Apple Maps' accuracy, visual quality, and functions. For instance, there simply is no public transportation component currently for car, bus or pedestrian routes. Directions cannot be edited, so that, for instance, someone might get directions to a destination and, on the way there, decide to change transportation types midway by getting out of a car to walk.

Real World Accuracy

Other examples of missing or inadequate data: One blogger calculated that, compared with Google Maps, street view in Apple's Maps has been removed from 41 countries, traffic information from 24 countries, and transit information from 51 countries.

A graphic depiction of freeways in Oakland, Calif., shows some parts of the roads going vertically, and the location of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. is misidentified. Search functions in the app have also been criticized, in that even large search targets -- say, Canada -- are ending up with "no results found" until Wi-Fi was turned off, for some unknown reason.

The maps space is also heating up with another major effort, from Nokia. Earlier this week, the Finnish handset maker announced Here, a new brand that includes a mapping service for mobile devices using Windows 8, as its new phones are, as well as ones based on Android or iOS.

Here draws on the company's extensive experience and data related to maps, is being propagated to cars and handheld GPS devices, and will offer new functionality, such as real-time data overlays on street scenes when the app is used on Nokia phones.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Liansong:

Posted: 2012-11-20 @ 12:34am PT
I am using iPhone 4, the GPS is the shame of apple. No sound, no tracing my car when driving, wrong direction.

Kingi:

Posted: 2012-11-18 @ 9:38pm PT
Who ever changed maps needs to be slapped
iOS 6 is so bad I've switched to sum sung
......... So long apple (losers)

Vanessa:

Posted: 2012-11-18 @ 1:51am PT
Regarding iPhone 5 and Siri and Talkler. Even with iOS6, and the new iPhone 5, Siri still won't do email for me. We need true email inbox management that's eyes-free. There's a smartphone app called Talkler, billed as email for your ears. It's about voice-controlled email that gets read aloud. talkler.com -- worth checking out

Matt man:

Posted: 2012-11-17 @ 10:31pm PT
Google maps with voice directions simply works. Join the club. Customers deserve the best. Isn't that what apple s about?

Martijn van der Spek:

Posted: 2012-11-17 @ 8:47pm PT
If you are looking for google maps on iOS6, try out 'Sparkling Maps', which had an iPhone and iPad version release yesterday. It's basically the old google maps but with streetview and turn by turn navigation. See it at sparklingapps.com/sparklingmaps.

sam metoyer:

Posted: 2012-11-17 @ 1:29pm PT
Apple has some smart people, and, should clean up the mess themselves ...

FDR:

Posted: 2012-11-17 @ 12:16pm PT
Sole reason for not updating to iOS 6 on iPhone is the lack of Google Maps; too important to give up.

Carlos:

Posted: 2012-11-17 @ 10:51am PT
I wonder if Apple will go for it or not. They made a very intentional strategic move by removing Google Maps from iOS 6, so it seems like they may have other ideas in mind. On the other hand... they did later say it was a mistake. Definitely caused quite the uproar! So it will be interesting to see what they do with this "offering" from Google.



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