By Robert Varga
Since the introduction of Apple’s iOS 6 on Sept. 19, it seems the only thing iPhone owners are talking about is Apple Maps, and more specifically, how bad they are.
Are they really that bad though? Any time Apple makes a change to the way the iPhone works, the Internet seems to fill with articles of iPhone users talking about how Apple completely screwed up this time, and how its competitors are one step ahead.
Sites such as “The Amazing iOS 6 Maps” have popped up, where users can post screenshots of the problems found in the Maps app. There have been articles in nearly every major news publication, such as the New York Times. Apple seems to have quite a problem on their hands.
The reality, however, is Apple is going to sell more of the iPhone 5 than it has with any previous iPhone. People love their iPhones, and negative press about their new Maps app will not make a dent in their sales.
The big question on everybody’s minds is why did Apple ditch Google Maps in favor of its own app? Google is widely regarded as having the best mapping software on the market, so why would Apple want to cut ties with Google?
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Google wanted more branding in the app and wanted Apple to include services such as Latitude. Apple did not want to do that, but did want Google’s turn-by-turn navigation service.
So Apple, with a year left in their contract with Google, decided to part ways and release their own version of Maps, where they would have complete control and would be able to include turn-by-turn navigation.
So, is the app really as bad as everyone says it is? In comparison to the old Google Maps app, yes, it is bad. That does not mean the app is completely useless.
The most glaring omissions in Apple’s Maps app are the lack of public transportation directions and a lack of points of interest. For those living in big cities, having instant access to bus or train times and prices can be a huge help.
Apple has not announced whether they will be adding in public transportation maps in the future, but they are continuing to add more points of interest, with the help of user-submitted error reports.
Like any new service, Apple’s Maps are still early in their development. As more people continue to use the app, Apple will get more feedback and continue to improve the service.
Along with getting rid of Google Maps, Apple also did away with the built-in YouTube app, which has been a staple since the original iPhone.
Much like with Maps, Google wanted to make changes to the app that Apple was not willing to accept, the primary change being the addition of ads.
Google quickly introduced a new YouTube app to replace the Apple-designed one, and it works well for the most part. It was nice not having ads in the old app, but its unreasonable to expect that to last forever.
Google has said that they will be releasing their own Maps app to compete with Apple’s, but it is still at least a few weeks to a few months away from being in the App Store. It is likely that Google’s Maps app will have ads, much like the YouTube app.
With Apple trying their best to separate from Google, they need to bring their A-game. Google has had years of experience in mapping software development, and Apple has a long road ahead of them.
For now, iPhone owners will have to deal with Apple Maps until Google arrives with their own app. If you are looking for alternatives to Apple Maps, apps such as MotionX and Waze offer many features not available in Apple’s app.
Nicole Calinawan/The Poly Post
Apple vs. Google
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