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How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?

Posted: , by Michael H.

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How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?
Have you ever noticed that Google always gets the benefit of the doubt simply for trying something new, but if Apple tries something new, and doesn't come out with a perfect first attempt, it is deemed an utter failure? We've covered this phenomenon a little bit here and there, but we've never really focused on it completely, and we'd like to give that a shot right now (and as always, bring some perspective to the woefully myopic fanboys in our readership). 

As we all know by now, Apple decided to get rid of Google Maps and create its own Maps app for iOS. We have also seen that the iOS Maps app has been... disappointing, to be extremely kind about it. We have tried a number of times to impress upon our readership that this is the first iteration of an app that will be around for years and years to come, and that the first generation of a product as big as mapping the entire world is bound to have problems. It's not like Google Maps was borne into this world as complete as it is today, that took 7 years of hard work. And, Apple wasn't trying to recreate Google Maps on the first try, it was more likely just trying to build something that was "good enough" for users, and depending on where you live, it missed that mark with iOS Maps.

Apple's problem with superlatives

Of course, Apple doesn't get that sort of benefit of the doubt. It's understandable, because Apple has always been a company that not only held back software until it was more matured, but Apple tends to use only superlatives when introducing new products. And, Apple haters can't seem to grasp that what is essentially nothing more than a marketing tool (the superlative) is not necessarily the benchmark for judging a product.

How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?
Apple seems to be the only company where the marketing language becomes the standard by which the product is judged. This is especially ridiculous because Apple's marketing lexicon hasn't changed in years, everything is still "magical", "amazing", "fantastic", "really great", or "the best" year after year after year. It has gotten to the point where a reasonable audience shouldn't actually get any useful meaning from the words used at an Apple announcement. If you describe a product the same way you've described every product for the past 10 years, how do the words even really mean anything anymore? Still, people find a way to get so angry about it that they have to fill up our comment threads with their bile.

What's interesting is that, if you notice, Apple uses all of its superlatives in the announcement for a product, but when it comes to the actual advertising for the product, the phrasing always changes to "the best iPhone yet", or "the most magical iPad yet". Everything becomes compared only to Apple devices, not to anything else, because there are those silly things like the "Code of Advertising", which states that superlatives can only be based on objective data, like sales figures. So, the superlatives are couched in context in Apple ads, but are free to describe anything during a product announcement. 

But maybe Apple is finally learning that it will have to rein in the superlatives given the fiasco that has surrounded iOS Maps. For some silly reason, the company thought it was a good idea to claim that its Maps were the "most beautiful and powerful maps ever", which is obviously not the case. Apple has since changed that language, but only time will tell how it describes its next product. 

Apple Maps is no different than Android 1.5

Still, there is no such thing as perspective when it comes to a fanboy, especially one that is so dead set on hating Apple. And, that brings us back to our original question: why does Google always get credit for trying something new? We know that Google has been far more well known for the "try and fail" approach to product development, as well as its liberal use of the Beta tag. Google has released plenty of products that have been killed off, or stayed in beta for as long as 5 years (Gmail). Google has released plenty of products that started out just as rocky as Apple Maps, but became successful (you know, like Android.) 

How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?
Apple Maps may be a bad product now, and it may not have lived up to the flowery language that Apple used to launch it, but aside from the big announcement, how is it any different from Android 1.5? Remember, when the G1 was launched, it's marketing labeled it as "The most exciting phone in the history of phones." That's some pretty superlative language right there. And, you know what? The G1 didn't quite live up to the hype. It was an okay phone for its time, but it had very few apps, it was laggy, and it generally just lacked polish.

Times have changed though. Android has grown and evolved, while iOS has made more moderate changes, and Android has become the dominant platform, if not the best mobile platform around. Of course, if you ask any Apple fanboy, they will likely still pull adjectives that described Android 1.5 as a way to put down the platform, calling it "laggy" or "prone to crash", even though those adjectives don't apply anymore, and some studies have shown that Android is actually less prone to crashes than Apple. The same is happening right now with Apple Maps. It launched as a disappointment, and a mess of an app, so as far as anti-Apple fanboys are concerned, that's how it will always be.

If you try to apply the same logic people use when looking at Apple Maps, you could claim Google didn't really have any compelling reason to create Android. There were plenty of smartphone platforms, and Google could have just as easily made apps for each of those. Google Maps and YouTube were already baked in to iOS anyway. Of course, that logic fails when you consider the business side of the equation, just like it fails when talking about Apple Maps. Apple could have just kept Google Maps, despite the fact that it would never have turn-by-turn navigation or vector maps, just like Google could have stuck with making apps for other platforms rather than build Android. But, that's not how business works. 

In the world of business (which has far less to do with us users as you'd like to think), companies make decisions based on long timelines. Over time, Google could get a lot more data and revenue if it could control the entire platform, so it created Android. Similarly, Apple will ultimately get a lot more data and the potential for more revenue with its own maps app, so it got rid of Google Maps.


Sure, Apple Maps is not a great product right now. Its data set is woefully small, its satellite imagery is patchwork, and its navigation can have problems. The thing is, Apple isn't giving up on this. The product will continue to be improved, and it will continue to be a central part of all iOS products from here on out. Just take a look at a G1 running Android 1.5 compared to a Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.1, and think about how that change happened over the course of just 4 years. Now, try to imagine what Apple Maps will look like 4 years from now.

It still may not have caught up with Google Maps, but it will certainly have progressed to the point where iOS users are no longer running to the iTunes App Store to download an alternative maps app. That's how Apple is looking at this, and that's how Google is looking at it as it decides how to react and what to do next. Knee-jerk reactions do nothing but put people in the mindset to not accept any new information on a subject. But, on a long enough timeline, everything changes, especially in the world of tech. If you're planning to make up your mind about a product and never revisit that judgement, the world is most surely going to pass you by.

  • Options

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:02 64

1. bloodline (Posts: 706; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

Your missing a big point here, apple removed one of the best mapping services available in replace of an awful one and gave u no real choice to get it back. That's why people complained, its not rocket science Michael

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:07 8

6. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

No one is stopping google from making an app. Excuses are always made despite the obvious.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:08 2

9. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

There are other options. Tim Cook said it himself, he's encouraging iOS users to try out other maps.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:09

10. Hafiz (Posts: 78; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

Very well said

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:09 4

11. darkkjedii (Posts: 23586; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

They didn't replace it with an awful one, they replaced it with one that's new from the ground up and one that's incomplete. Saying its awful due to it being new, and incomplete is like saying a new born baby is awful. Like the baby apple maps is newborn and will grow, and mature. What they should've done however is leave google maps on for the rest of the contract, until apple maps was way more mature. That was their mistake. Now let them have time to fix it like google did.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:10 18

12. Hafiz (Posts: 78; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

but he removed google maps which is still the best map app out there!!

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:10 7

13. darkkjedii (Posts: 23586; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Exactly bro

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:11 7

15. Hafiz (Posts: 78; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)

If its incomplete then why did they remove google maps!!

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:15 1

19. darkkjedii (Posts: 23586; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

I'm still asking myself y they removed google maps early? But I don't work at apple, so one thing I won't do is sit on my couch and make stupid comments about y they did what they did.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:17 28

20. serious9010 (Posts: 254; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Apple ditch Google Maps because Google wouldn't make their maps on iOS as good as the ones on Android? I mean, if Google kept some functions like turn-by-turn navigation for itself it's only logical that Apple took a separate path...

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:20 5

23. darkkjedii (Posts: 23586; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Now that's the point of the day. And that's exactly what happened.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:20 9

24. sandysingh252 (Posts: 27; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Don't worry Sir, Mr. Michael H. is just trying to defend his favorite fruit company again by searching for some excuses, I think I've never seen this person, wasting his time on writing about Android or Windows Phone. Clearly an iFan, consolidating himself by fantasizing of future updates, which may fix Apple Maps in 5 years maybe!!!!

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:27 26

37. ahomad (Posts: 175; Member since: 15 May 2012)

the main issue is not with new mapping service and not with google, the problem is with apple and their marketing. when they released the new map and called it "the most powerful mapping service yet" the same goes with iOs where they call it the most advance mobile operating system. I have never heard such markiting scam from google. this way they attract non-tech people to buy there products which cost alot more and offer alot less.

this is the problem with the new mapping service by apple which has nothing to do with google.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:28 2

38. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

Yeah I'm with you on that. Google maps is the best (I prefer nokia maps though).

But Apple did not remove google maps, they just don't want to use google's mapping info anymore. it's not apple's fault that there's no google maps for iOS6.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:30 3

40. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

You should read more of Michael's articles. You don't know what you're saying man.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:36 7

43. darkkjedii (Posts: 23586; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Definitely not the smartest marking approach with an unproven product.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:54 10

47. MeoCao (unregistered)

That's not the point, no 1 accuses Apple for ditching Google maps, people are angry at Apple b-c they did it when their maps were far from ready, and this was not minor errors we are talking about.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 10:55 6

48. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I agree. I also think the issue is that Apple is not supposed to ever look bad. Everything they make, create, innovate is supposed to be the best ever, perfect, flawless.

2 products by Apple or Apple had a hand in creating: The Pippen and Newton....huge failures when they launched. I think its just that Apple failures, mis steps get as much attention as their successes now a days. I didnt know about the marketing for the G1. But outside of the Galaxy S and Droid series...most Android phones and tablets dont get alot of ads, marketing.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:16 6

55. sniper1087 (Posts: 530; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)

That is incorrect google submitted the map app and it was never approved by apple.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:17 15

56. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Its not so much Google isnt making a map app for iOS. Apple wanted the iOS version to have all the features of the Android version.

Some may not like what Google did, but I see no problem with it. Is iTunes available for Android? Is any Apple service or app available for any other company? If it is...its few.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:19 1

57. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I agree with this.

Main problem....the way Apple marketed it and it shoulda had a beta label on it. I mean they did that with Siri if I remember correctly. And Siri was a more complete product when Apple bought it from that company.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:24 5

59. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

If you take the time to actually read each n every writer's articles...Micheal is more open minded, unbiased than at least one other I wont name...lol.

They do a pretty good job here covering tech. I just cant see Micheal as an iFan. An iFan is one of the most irrational, closed mined ppl on the planet.

Judging by your comment....this must be your fist time here...or are fairly new here....lol. Micheal writes about more than Apple....and gets accused of being an Android lover...lol.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:39 1

62. Hemlocke (unregistered)

That is where you are wrong. The mapping system was always Apple's, but the data set was Google's. Google wouldn't provide the data needed for turn-by-turn and other standard features on Android Maps without stipulations that would greatly benefit Google, such as branding and advertising. The previous Maps experience was not very good, at all. There are bumps with the new Apple Maps, but the application is worlds better than the old one.

As for Google Maps, the gap between Apple and Google is closer than the gap between Google and Nokia, who is well out in front of Google when it comes to mapping data.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:57 4

66. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

"Excuses are always made despite the obvious."

Have tried to apply this rule for your self?

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 11:58 3

67. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

ho ho ho.......they dont wanna hear that man! tell it too em straight :)

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 12:00 2

68. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)

Arguably for the USA, with its terrific search, but only if you have excellent network coverage and a decent/unlimited data plan. On a global basis no one comes close to Nokia Maps. Nokia's Navteq powers 80% of the car manufacturer's nav systems. It also provides mapping data for Garmin, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo and now Oracle. On top of this, Nokia Navigation suite for its devices offers free turn by turn nav in over 120 countries...PLUS it has the capability to navigate fully OFF line. The whole free package includes public transport in most major cities, plus City Lens 3D augmented reality, weather, and City Guides.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 12:07 1

69. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)

The problem with a nice app is that it can't make up for crap data. Navigation is one of those things where crap data is eventually noticed...usually at the worst possible moment for the user. This is why Apple knows it has a big problem. It can certainly ask for patience...it has the consumer loyalty to do this. However, if you read the Atlantic article on Nokia Maps you will begin to appreciate the long road Apple has embarked upon. Sure, it has the cash to buy more nav companies. But the integration takes time. In many cases, the acquisitions will not be possible due to anti-trust. In essence, Apple has a lot of catching up to do in this strategic area. It has the money...but time in this case is not simply money.

Do I think Apple is right to part ways with Google. Yes, it's in its long term strategic interest. However, the timing is poor. Apple should've been quietly moving data in this area three years ago. Clearly this was a calculated risk taken by Jobs, and later Cook. I'm sure they have a good idea how far they can push the user base before there is a revolt.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 12:08

70. Hammerfest (Posts: 384; Member since: 12 May 2012)

No kidding!

Not to mention:
"Have you ever noticed that Google always gets the benefit of the doubt simply for trying something new, but if Apple tries something new, and doesn't come out with a perfect first attempt, it is deemed an utter failure?"

When has Google tried something new and gotten the benefit of the doubt when it came to an offering they provided, that they wanted to replace with their own?

This article reaks of Apple Care (TM).

Now if Android had been powered by Amazon or some other app store, and then they swapped it out for Android Market, YES you can bet your arse they would be deemed FAIL, however, this is not, and to my own experiance in the last 10 years, EVER been the case when it comes to Google.

If you can find a case where Google had an already in place solution bundled in, then swapped it out for their own, use that, instead of the random nonsense that your entire article turned out to be (I lost braincells reading it)

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 12:33 9

77. Whateverman (Posts: 3284; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Apple removed Google Maps themselves, so how is it not their fault. They were under contract with Google for another year when they removed it from iOS. this is 100% Apples fault.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 12:55 4

80. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)

Google (any one) can NOT create integrated map fo iOS due to iOS limits ;)
And iOS will be in 5 years (maybe sooner) where Google maps are now....great :-D

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