Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th Sep 2012 19:24 UTC
Apple "The major new feature of the company's new iOS 6 mobile operating system is a new mapping module developed by Apple itself - a replacement for the Google-supplied maps that have been standard on the iPhone since it debuted in 2007. It is a change borne not of user demand, but of corporate politics: Google's Android platform is the biggest competitive threat to the iPhone, so Apple is cutting ties with Google. iPhone owners might have loved Google Maps, but Apple has no love for Google. Unfortunately, Apple's new maps are simply not as good as Google's." That's putting it mildly - my own town barely even exists on Apple's maps. It's basically a trainwreck, and according to The Verge, Apple has been working on this for the past five years. This is what happens when a company cares more about stupid grudges than its customers. Considering how much effort it has taken Google to get where it is now with maps, don't expect Apple's maps to even get near Google Maps any times soon. This isn't going to take months - this is going to take several years, if at all.
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Comment by Stephen!
by Stephen! on Thu 20th Sep 2012 20:43 UTC
Stephen!
Member since:
2007-11-24

If enough people complained, would they likely back down and go back to using Google Maps?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Stephen!
by jackastor on Thu 20th Sep 2012 20:49 in reply to "Comment by Stephen!"
jackastor Member since:
2009-05-05

Certainly not if Jobs were still alive, but if the corporate warfare is still continuing now that he's gone, maybe still not. But that begs another question: Has Apple ever deferred to another company's product for superiority?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, I think they gave up on social networking with the ping thing. Now they're working with facebook and twitter. I think I heard that iCloud is actually hosted on top of Microsoft's Azure could. There are other examples, I'm sure.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by Laurence on Fri 21st Sep 2012 09:55 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Has Apple ever deferred to another company's product for superiority?

Occasionally, MS Basic, for example.

Apple generally buy the competition if they can though (or use open source technologies).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Stephen!
by Tony Swash on Thu 20th Sep 2012 22:34 in reply to "Comment by Stephen!"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The Apple - Google maps divorce is, I suspect, a mutually agreed separation. Apple's existing mapping agreement with Google is approaching to it's expiration date and neither seem to want to continue with the relationship.

Apple is caught between a rock and hard place on the maps issue. When iOS and the iPhone was first conceived Apple felt so confident about being dependent on Google for some core services such as Maps that it worked closely with Google before the launch of the first iPhone to write what was, at the time, the most advanced implementation of Google maps on any mobile device. Apple felt able to have an intimate and close relationship with Google, to the point of inviting Google's CEO onto it's board, because it felt that the two companies businesses did not overlap and there was no competition between them. But then Google redesigned Android to directly compete with iOS and effectively launched a competitive attack on Apple's new flagship product. Worse was to follow as Google began introducing Map features such as turn-by-turn navigation to the Android version of it's mobile mapping offering but not to it's iOS version.

Clearly Apple could not continue to be dependent on Google for its core mapping function with the threat of that function slowly degrading in comparison with the Android mapping function and the possibility of Google pulling the plug on it's iOS maps at some point in the future. Apple needed a mapping plan B. So it set about buying various mapping companies and hiring mapping talent but it had, and still as, a lot of catching up to do compared to Google's head start with mapping.

So when the Apple-Google mapping agreement approached its expiration date it is no surprise that Apple decided to take the opportunity to cut the cord tying it's mapping system to Google. It's also no surprise that it's initial offering is in some areas weaker than Google's, mapping data gets better primarily through usage and not through design and it will take a while for Apple to accumulate the sort of usage data that Google already has.

I suspect that Google was also prepared for the end of it's relationship with Apple. Google almost certainly wants to insert ads into mapping (something Apple won't accept on an Apple made bundled app but would probably accept on a stand alone Google maps app) because Google has to insert more ads in more places in all its offerings because it's revenue per click has been declining so drastically in recent quarters.

But Apple dropping Google maps doesn't just degrade Apple's maps, at least initially, it also undermines Google's mobile maps because mapping data gets better primarily through usage and not through design and at least half of Google's mobile map usage just went away. Half. So Google's maps will get worse (or at least stop getting better) whilst Apple gets to use all the usage by iOS users to enhance it's map offering.

In addition the way Apple has implemented the mapping feature is as a core OS service which can be used by developers to develop all sorts of new and interesting mapping apps and services. It's via third party apps that Apple wants transit info to be available on it's maps for example but it hopes for all sorts of new mapping initiatives from its large developer community. This is something that was impossible using the old closed Google mapping system where Google jealousy guarded core mapping functions and location data because such data is fundemental to Google's business model whilst it is peripheral to Apple's. So in a lovely ironic turn Apple has opened mapping on iOS compared to Google's closed approached.

It will be interesting to see whether Google offers it's own mapping app for iOS, if they want all that valuable data from iOS usage then they need to do something.

Apple is slowly inching away from Google search with deals with the likes of Yandex in Russia and and Baidu in China but it must tread carefully and slowly as Google's search offering will be a lot harder to replace.

And Apple isn't the only one inching away from Google.

While Apple builds it's map service the quickest way to deal with the interim inconvenience is to go to maps.google.com and then select 'Add to Home Screen'. Not perfect but it fixes most of the problems.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 20th Sep 2012 22:43 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Worse was to follow as Google began introducing Map features such as turn-by-turn navigation to the Android version of it's mobile mapping offering but not to it's iOS version.


For someone as well-versed into Apple as you claim to be, you know damn well that Google had no control over the iOS map application. It was designed, built, and maintained solely by Apple.

Google wanted to add stuff - but Apple didn't do it. Recent articles on the web confirm that this was the case because Apple was already working on its own mapping application, which they released with iOS 6. In fact, a modern Google Maps application has been ready for a while now, but Apple won't approve it for iOS.

http://9to5mac.com/2012/09/20/google-has-an-ios-6-maps-app-awaiting...

Please, stick to the facts. This is entirely Apple's OWN doing.

Reply Parent Score: 14

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by JAlexoid on Thu 20th Sep 2012 22:46 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Same what Thom said

Edited 2012-09-20 22:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by grahamtriggs on Thu 20th Sep 2012 23:52 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
grahamtriggs Member since:
2009-05-27

"Worse was to follow as Google began introducing Map features such as turn-by-turn navigation to the Android version of it's mobile mapping offering but not to it's iOS version."

Apple controlled the iOS version, and held back it's features. Hell, that's their entire model with iOS - introduce new features, but deliberately hold back support across handsets to encourage users to upgrade.

They could easily have turned over the app to Google, and had a contract with them to keep the app up to date. But then that would mean features would ship without Apple's control, and weaken their upgrade PR.

Remember, Apple Maps restrict features to only the iPhone 4s and 5 that were in 3 year old Android phones. Restricting support has nothing to do with what the older iPhones are actually capable of.

"But Apple dropping Google maps doesn't just degrade Apple's maps, at least initially, it also undermines Google's mobile maps because mapping data gets better primarily through usage and not through design and at least half of Google's mobile map usage just went away. Half. So Google's maps will get worse (or at least stop getting better) whilst Apple gets to use all the usage by iOS users to enhance it's map offering. "

That's not really true. Whilst Apple has a more active (per handset) and profitable App Store, Android is pulling ahead in shipped handsets, thanks to the diversity of handsets (and prices). People may not buy many apps for Android, but that doesn't mean they don't use the apps that are installed. So Google will continue to accumulate more usage data for it's maps than Apple will, with or without their maps on iOS.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by phoudoin on Fri 21st Sep 2012 06:30 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

Clearly Apple could not continue to be dependent on Google for its core mapping function with the threat of that function slowly degrading in comparison with the Android mapping function and the possibility of Google pulling the plug on it's iOS maps at some point in the future.


Oh yeah.
And to avoid this to happened, Apple pulled the plug itself, *sudently* degrading the iOS mapping function in comparaison with Android ones.
Well done.

While I understand the politics behind all this, much part of them being there in the first place *only* because Apple can't keep their nerves under control, they just forgot about what's matter: user experience.

And *absolutely* no user were complaining about Google Maps user experience under iOS5 and sooner.

Let's see how long Apple customers would tolerate a worse mapping user experience because it's *strategic* for Apple.

Another front just open on Apple vs the world war.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by kovacm on Fri 21st Sep 2012 07:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

This is something that was impossible using the old closed Google mapping system where Google jealousy guarded core mapping functions and location data because such data is fundemental to Google's business model whilst it is peripheral to Apple's. So in a lovely ironic turn Apple has opened mapping on iOS compared to Google's closed approached.


beautiful post! entire post!

this was only way for Apple - they must further distance from Google (clearly: competitor in almost all fields today, and even more in future!) and make new partners (facebook and twitter).

and maps will be most important base for many new applications/services to come.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by Laurence on Fri 21st Sep 2012 10:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

at least half of Google's mobile map usage just went away. Half.

iOS doesn't even count for close to half of all Google's mobile map usage. Let alone Google Maps as a whole.

Though I don't know why I'm bothering to respond to you as in the past you've repeatedly proven to be quite beyond any kind of reason.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Stephen!
by saso on Fri 21st Sep 2012 10:03 in reply to "RE: Comment by Stephen!"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Oh boy, your comment contains so much spin it would take several pages of facts to debunk fully, so I'll try to condense the most important points.

The Apple - Google maps divorce is, I suspect, a mutually agreed separation ... and neither seem to want to continue with the relationship.

How did you determine that? Oh right, you simply invented it. Fact: Google plans to publish their own iOS6 maps app, so it seems extremely unlikely they would willingly surrender the prime spot they had in iOS so far.

When iOS and the iPhone was first conceived Apple felt so confident about being dependent on Google for some core services such as Maps ... But then Google redesigned Android to directly compete with iOS and effectively launched a competitive attack on Apple's new flagship product.

So it is about a business grudge, at least partially.

Worse was to follow as Google began introducing Map features such as turn-by-turn navigation to the Android version of it's mobile mapping offering but not to it's iOS version.

Just a few lines before you claimed Apple designed the app and now you say that Google blocked the feature to appear in an app that wasn't designed by them? Are you familiar with the term "internally inconsistent"?

Clearly Apple could not continue to be dependent on Google for its core mapping function with the threat of that function slowly degrading in comparison with the Android mapping function and the possibility of Google pulling the plug on it's iOS maps at some point in the future...

As was pointed out by other commenters, the lacking features were (perhaps entirely) due to Apple's unwillingness to implement them in their own Maps app (which only interfaces with Google for the raw data). Without any more data on the topic I am forced to conclude that Apple had at least a hand in the lack of features and it cannot be blamed entirely (if at all) on Google.

It's also no surprise that it's initial offering is in some areas weaker than Google's, mapping data gets better primarily through usage and not through design and it will take a while for Apple to accumulate the sort of usage data that Google already has.

Trying such experiments on your customer base who expect the new product to be better, not worse, is a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless, how the situation will develop remains to be seen. I don't think Thom's conclusion "This isn't going to take months - this is going to take several years, if at all." has so far enough evidence to support it.

Google almost certainly wants to insert ads into mapping (something Apple won't accept on an Apple made bundled app but would probably accept on a stand alone Google maps app) because Google has to insert more ads in more places in all its offerings because it's revenue per click has been declining so drastically in recent quarters.

Pure unsupported conjecture. I've yet to see Google insert ads into any maps at all, so if you have data points which support this "almost certain" assertion, show them.

In addition the way Apple has implemented the mapping feature is as a core OS service which can be used by developers to develop all sorts of new and interesting mapping apps and services. It's via third party apps that Apple wants transit info to be available on it's maps for example but it hopes for all sorts of new mapping initiatives from its large developer community. This is something that was impossible using the old closed Google mapping system where Google jealousy guarded core mapping functions and location data because such data is fundemental to Google's business model whilst it is peripheral to Apple's. So in a lovely ironic turn Apple has opened mapping on iOS compared to Google's closed approached.

Again, the app and its interfaces were developed by Apple, not Google, so it was Apple's fault for not making it embeddable as reusable components. I'm almost certain Google would very much welcome this kind of feature, because it is already offered on their web-based Google maps (you can embed maps and subsets of its functionality in websites).

It will be interesting to see whether Google offers it's own mapping app for iOS, if they want all that valuable data from iOS usage then they need to do something.

Google already has the app waiting in the App Store approval process: http://9to5mac.com/2012/09/20/google-has-an-ios-6-maps-app-awaiting...
So the ball is in Apple's court now.

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE: Comment by Stephen!
by tanzam75 on Thu 20th Sep 2012 23:50 in reply to "Comment by Stephen!"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19


If enough people complained, would they likely back down and go back to using Google Maps?


Rather unlikely.

Did Google switch back to Navteq Maps, after users complained that their maps had gotten worse after the switch to Tele Atlas? No!

Not only did they not go back to Navteq, but they then proceeded to ditch Tele Atlas as well, and switch to their own maps that are generated by machine-learning. This has led to more comprehensive coverage than could be achieved by sending humans out to drive and annotate the roads. But it has also led to some truly astonishing errors that are unique to Google Maps.

This is what happens when a company has bigger fish to fry. They allow strategic interests to prevail over the quality of the user's experience.

Edited 2012-09-20 23:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Comment by Stephen!
by kaiwai on Sat 22nd Sep 2012 03:49 in reply to "Comment by Stephen!"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

If enough people complained, would they likely back down and go back to using Google Maps?


I'm assuming you're new to Apple. Lets remember one thing, Apple NEVER accepts that they're wrong unless there is a tsumani sized tidal wave coming towards them and they have no choice BUT to accept that they were wrong (but with some caveats when they do so). Apple have marked a new path forward and they'll move heaven and earth to ensure that this will work - without any possibility of returning to Google even temporarily. Best example, Final Cut Pro X and the ceasing of selling previous versions even though Final Cut Pro X was not feature complete (Apple promised to bring the missing features back in later updates and upgrades) they're maintained that Final Cut Pro X is the future and there is no temporary reprievement in the short term for those who need the older version.

Reply Parent Score: 4