Apple iOS 6 Maps a big disappointment. Will Apple approve Google’s new Maps submission soon?

by: J. Angelo RacomaSeptember 20, 2012

Apple launched its iPhone 5 to much fanfare, with media and technology writers from both sides of the OS divide (Android vs. iOS) providing adequate coverage. One particular point that neither side missed was the fact that Apple’s iOS 6 launched without Google Maps as its built-in mapping app.

Now that might have proved to be a problematic decision for Apple, as users have been expressing their disappointment of the new iOS Maps. According to Nilay Patel and Adi Robertson at The Next Web, the new mapping app lacks significant amount of detail. It omits public transport directions. The new iOS maps have even mistakenly labeled some locations, such as the Irish farm that was mis-labeled as an airport because of its name “Airfield Garden, Farm, Cafe.”

While I don’t think a Jumbo Jet will be landing on that particular “airfield” anytime soon, this does underscore the issue whether there was a problem for Apple to solve at all, in the first place. Why did they need to remove Google Maps, when it was working fine. “They’re going to get hammered by mom and pop who want to find a store. It’s going to be messy for them,” says iMore editor Rene Ritche.

Here’s a potentially beneficial piece of news, however. It seems that contrary to earlier reports that Google might be delaying its native iOS Maps app in favor of HTML5, the search company has actually submitted its new app to Apple, as The Guardian reports.

The same sources say that Google is preparing a Google Maps app for iOS6, which will appear in time. No official statement has been made and there will inevitably be questions over whether Apple will approve it in the App Store. (Apple might not, on the basis that it “competes with existing functionality”, but would invite a further backlash if it did.)

Now it’s up to Apple whether to approve the app or not. It might decide to forego the app, on the basis of competition with existing functionality. But if Apple decision-makers are smart (which I don’t doubt they are), they’d better approve Google Maps, if only to bring back the level of detail that users are clamoring for — especially in rural areas.

Otherwise, this could be another big, overblown issue for Apple, much like “Antennagate” of 2010’s iPhone 4. Will this turn out to be “Mapgate?”

  • If they allow the Google Maps app won’t that set a precedent that apps that
    “competes with existing functionality” are not ALL turned away from entry in the App Store? Damned if they do and damned if they don’t all because of one decision to leave it out of iOS6.

    • carlisimo

      They’ve been moving away from that sort of lockdown, IMO. I have an iPad2 and in the last few months I’ve been able to download a program that works with my Picasa web folders. They’ve also allowed alternative music players. I never though that would happen… might not have switched over to Android (when i finally got a smartphone) if it had happened earlier, actually.

      Previously they had approved video players (but crucially not VLC), email programs, PDF readers/writers, and they didn’t block Skype after FaceTime came out. I won’t count their browsers because they’re just skins over Safari; that’s still basically locked down.

    • Level380

      Google allows podcasting apps, web browsers for example. All these all could be classed as competing with existing functionality as well. So I doubt thats a show stopper.

      Google didn’t control the old Maps appllication, likewise they didn’t control YouTube app either. Apple blocked Google from adding turn by turn nav, as it would take sales away from other apps and when users are buying tomtom @ $99 a pop and apple getting $33 of that, why would you want to give it away for free?

      If Apple allow google maps app onto iOS6 and it takes off (which it will based on the backlash) then its a sign that Apple screwed up and we all know apple wouldn’t do that!

    • jangeloracoma

      The image source typed in Tokio. Maybe they want to highlight how screwed up iOS 6 maps are. :)

    • jangeloracoma

      The image source typed in Tokio. Maybe they want to highlight how screwed up iOS 6 maps are. :)

  • Anirudh Singh

    i guess the effect of Steve jobs not being at apple are starting to show now, he would have never allowed this disaster to happen and heads would have rolled at apple had this happened.

  • AJD

    Its just simply impossible for Apple to compete with the robustness and maturity that is Google maps. However many years (that GMaps has been around) of user submissions, street view photography roundup, advanced flyover photography. Apple won’t have a competing maps product in any less the FIVE Years.. maps are no joke and take FOREVER to get decent let alone perfect (impossible since the land is always changing). Seriously.. apple is in over its head here and they will NEED google to bail them out in this department or it will be a major chink in iOS functionality.

  • Sheepybach

    My village is now a women who lives in North Carolina, with the same name, any direction I try to get starts from there lol. OK I understand it’s only a small village in Wales but come on.

    • Michael

      Well I hope she stays home most of the time. Having the village move all over the place won’t be very helpful.