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How long will iOS users suffer with Apple Maps before Google arrives?

Posted: , by Michael H.

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How long will iOS users suffer with Apple Maps before Google arrives?
If you follow any other tech news sources, you may have noticed that for some reason, there is a question going around of "Will Google release a Maps app for iOS?", which is a silly question. The question shouldn't be "will", but "when will" the Google Maps app be released, because some sources say that Google has already submitted its app for approval. For some reason, writers are somehow confused by a Google statement saying that the company's "goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system." Somehow people are taking this to mean that Google might not make an iOS Google Maps app, which is an interpretation that we find baffling. 

How long will iOS users suffer with Apple Maps before Google arrives?
The fact of the matter is that Google has already confirmed that it is not only working on a Google Maps app for iOS, and will release it, but that the company plans for the app to be "amazing". That came directly from Google's Senior Vice President of Commerce & Local, Jeff Huber, so there is little reason not to believe the statement. So, that means the real question is when the app will be released, or maybe more to the point: How long will Google let iOS users suffer with Apple Maps?

You would have to be doing a banner job of avoiding Apple news over the past day to not hear about what a disaster Apple's Maps application has turned out to be. The app is missing important features like public transportation information (which can still be added via a 3rd party app). We've heard about how Apple's data set is terrible, so depending on where you live, you won't be able to find anything you're looking for. For example, if you happen to be a university student, or live in Japan, you shouldn't expect any results to come up even if you can see the place listed on the map itself. We've also seen that even if the Maps app does bring back results for a search, it can have any number of problems, like: not pointing to the correct location, giving bad directions, or simply mislabeling places. All that and we haven't even mentioned the random quality of the maps, and the awful mess that can arise from the 3D effect. If you need any more proof, just head over to The Amazing iOS 6 Maps Tumblr for a constant stream of the problems that users are finding. 

The expectations on Apple

None of this should really be a surprise, of course. We pointed out all of the troubles that Apple would face in building its own Maps app when the pieces began to fall into place last year. Apple didn't build the app from the ground up though. The app pulls heavily from OpenStreetMaps and Yelp, both of
It's unlikely that any company, let alone Apple, could have stood up in a comparison to Google Maps with a first generation product.
which have been around longer than Google Maps. Even so, Apple was undoubtedly going to be starting out with a far smaller data set than Google, and no matter what Apple did, it was going to be compared to a product that has been evolving for 7 years. It's unlikely that any company, let alone Apple, could have stood up in a comparison to Google Maps with a first generation product.

Of course, Apple has built a world for itself where there has historically never been things like "reasonable expectations". This is mostly due to the company's tradition of not just holding products "until they are ready", but holding products "until they are done". That can be a big gap. Tim Cook may be starting to manage expectations of the company,
How long will iOS users suffer with Apple Maps before Google arrives?
but overall, when Apple releases a new product it is expected to be a high quality product. It may not be the best around, and it may not make everyone happy, but Apple products aren't supposed to be released if they are are flat out buggy, broken, and not ready for prime time. However, the past two years have had two such releases. First, Siri was released to server outages, slow responses, and relatively inaccurate responses. It wasn't a total disaster, but it was well below the expected polish of an Apple product. Now, Apple's Maps app has lowered the bar even further

At least in the past, Apple users could hold on to the mantra that even if Apple didn't release all of the features you were looking for, it meant that when the feature was released, it would be ready, and it would be good. Now, it seems almost as if Apple has lost its focus. Rather than concentrating on the things that Apple excels at, the company has tried to become a jack of all trades, and build everything necessary for its platform. And, in the process, Apple is shifting towards the "master of none" status. Maybe that isn't wholly accurate just yet, but it is a fear that should be in the back of every Apple user's mind. 

No company can do everything, and that's a lesson that Apple can learn from Google. It seems that Google's Larry Page has certainly learned a big lesson in focus from Steve Jobs and Apple. Since becoming CEO, Page has killed off nascent or underused products and has brought focus to the company. On the other side of the aisle, Tim Cook may be asking too much from his team. 

Google's advantage and choice

Google may not have had a head-start on OpenStreetMaps and Yelp in building its maps and places database, but the company has had far more in terms of resources to commit to the projects. Google has poured huge amounts of money and resources into building Google Maps over the past 7 years. As of June, it was reported that Google's Street View cars had traveled 5 million miles and collected over 20 petabytes of images. That data isn't just used to build the Street View option, but to verify everything else that Google Maps offers. Google uses optical character recognition (OCR) and image recognition to match street names, and business signs to the Places data it has. Google Maps VP Brian McClendon recently said that the company had "'view codes' for 6 million businesses and 20 million addresses", by matching Street View data with its more traditional maps data. That number which is increasing daily, and set to make large leaps as Google Translate gets better and can aid in creating "view codes" in non-english speaking regions. It's quite fascinating just how much work is put in. We'd highly recommend looking into Google's Ground Truth team if you want to learn more.

How long will iOS users suffer with Apple Maps before Google arrives?
All that to say what we already know: Google Maps is far better than Apple's offering (though, depending on who you ask, Google may not be the top Maps app available.) But, none of that matters if Google Maps doesn't exist on iOS. Sure, the web app is still there, but that is not a real solution to the power and features that can be made available in a native app, and that brings us back to the original question. 

It is relatively certain that Google is working on an iOS version of its Maps app, but it is impossible to know when said app will be released, or what the state of it will be when it is released. Google has certainly had time to work, because it has known for a while that it would not be part of iOS 6. We've already seen the fruit of part of that work with Google's release of the standalone YouTube app. Of course, that app is only for iPhone and has left iPad users with nothing but the web app to keep them going. With YouTube, that's not such a bad option, but with Google Maps, it would be far worse. 

Some may try to drum up fear that Google won't release an iOS version of Google Maps, or that it will willfully withhold the app in order to try to bring users to Android, but that simply isn't Google's M.O., as we've talked about before. For better or worse, Google brings its products where the users are, and if that means supporting a rival platform, then that's what the company does. Even if the Google Maps app were ready today, we wouldn't put it past Google to let Apple soak up some bad press over its Maps app before releasing Google Maps into the iTunes App Store, but we can't imagine the company would completely withhold the app. 

In the end, it looks as though Google has already submitted its Maps app for approval, according to some sources. So, maybe our question should be: How long will Apple make users suffer with iOS Maps before approving Google Maps? And, when it is approved, how much better will Google's offering be than Apple's?

  • Options

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 17:51 44

1. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

I feel google shouldnt provide ANY service to ios!...........i gotta speak plainly about it apple wants to be so "Separate" and the golden boy of the mobile world so badly then let them survive with their own apps, devices, services, etc.... google shouldnt deal with ios at all!

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:01 22

6. Captain_Doug (Posts: 997; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

I mostly agree. If Google releases an app for iOS, it'll most likely be free. Or... they could wait for Apple to give up(not likely) and license it for a load of dough. The alternative is Apple remains stubborn and people end up using GPS systems again.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:23 12

12. RicoNZ (Posts: 11; Member since: 19 Aug 2012)

Yep have to agree. Apple seem pretty happy to protect their IP and sue anyone that even remotely comes up with anything that looks similar, why even consider making an iOS app.

If I was Google I would completely thumb my nose to Apple and iOS. I can seem them doing it because it only helps the growth of Android and the Google IP. Maps on my SGS3 is brilliant, navigation, street view, got it all.

Karma's a bitch ain't it Apple?

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:28 3

15. MISTER.H (banned) (Posts: 167; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

Why would Google want to release their app now on a competing product? i'm sure that they will eventually, but i think even if they had the app ready now they would just hold off to let the knife twist for a bit. After few months Apple will probably have a riot on there hands if they don't either fix their app, or let Google's mapping app on their phone.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:30 2

17. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Check comment #14 for the answer to that.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:37 4

19. MISTER.H (banned) (Posts: 167; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

Micheal H, you'r articles are alway's nice to read! Keep it up.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:33 2

29. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)


posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:02

30. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:40 3

20. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 479; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)

You're missing the point. Services are a two-way street. We (users) get the email, navigation, social apps, cloud storage, etc. The provider gets information they can mine for data to monetize - in Google's case, to sell more effective ads. If behooves them to make their services to everyone they can, even iOS customers.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:05

32. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Well said bro

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 01:27

46. Mittal (Posts: 493; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)

and iOS users are not 'few', they might just be giving biggest business to Google... considering number of folks using Safari!

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:04 1

31. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

We r consumers. Google, and apple make money from each other. I'm sure u understand it, it's called big business. It doesn't matter what u or I think when billions r at stake.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 07:48

50. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

best article i read in past few weeks. awesome read and reveals the truth about the disaster apple is unlike Ray S who is almost always biased.
now i personally dont want google to offer anything to apple/ios niether free nor for money. but google is unlike any other company in the world. they really follow ''DONT BE EVIL". gotta love google for being fair.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 17:56 7

3. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)

Apple is a good "Recipe" company. Best at lifting/copying/stealing and then branding as their own iNNOVATION and when faced with criticism they start suing to divert attention from cor issue. Now Copying "maps" :)

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:06 1

33. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

If apple copied google maps then google copied Nokia ovi maps

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:27

36. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

Google maps were out before.
Ps, darkjedi, I know you love apple, but just admit they messed up.
Ps, waiting in line yet?

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:36 3

38. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

nokias actullay came out first. Yes I love apple and also android and I'm heading up to AT&T at 9pm
If u follow my posts then u know I'm not a basher, I'm a defender of ios, and android. Can't wait for my ip5 and can't wait for jelly bean on my one x. I like how most android users r blasting apple maps like it won't get better c'mon bro u know it will. Apple and google r the big kids on campus and their products show it. Do u agree?

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 00:21

44. erico (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

google maps debuted in 2005, nokia's ovi maps in 2001! So that's why it has the best mapping solution in the industry

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:01 7

5. biglou508 (Posts: 11; Member since: 17 May 2012)

if i was google i wouldnt make no apps for ios screw them i would keep everything for android. why make a app for them and a youtube app for them when then clearly are kicking you to the curb. whouldnt you want them to have no youtube and no good maps that whould drive people to android whouldnt it ?

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:33

37. Zero0 (Posts: 592; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

Android doesn't make Google any money. Ads do.

Google doesn't care if the ads are served to iOS or Android. As long as the ads are Google's, it's money in their pockets.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:10 1

9. hotdoggnboi (Posts: 10; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

how long???? AN ETERNITY! muhahahahaha

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:11 3

10. imkyle (Posts: 1073; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

As long as they feel they need too. They started this crap with banning the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:44 3

22. MISTER.H (banned) (Posts: 167; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

i wish all over the world the carriers start to boycot Apple.....

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:07

34. darkkjedii (Posts: 21201; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Keep wishing consumer. Carriers r in business to make money. Nuff said.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 21:08

39. viper1983 (Posts: 36; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

What a way to waste a wish. Get a life.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:16 8

11. bkb01 (Posts: 43; Member since: 21 Aug 2012)

how come this sounds like its googles fault? isnt it apples choice to remove google maps from ios and use their own maps instead?

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:26 2

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Good point. I've edited the title to fix that.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:27 5

14. MattAdorno (Posts: 19; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)

Google's not ever going to snub Apple. Google wants as many people on the web as possible to look at its ads. They don't care how they get on, because virtually anywhere some does get on its going to make them money.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:29 3

16. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I couldn't have said it better myself! (granted, I have said exactly that before...)

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:32 2

18. RicoNZ (Posts: 11; Member since: 19 Aug 2012)

Except Maps as an IP doesn't have ads.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 20:12 3

35. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Maps may not have ads, but most Place links lead to ads.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:00

24. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

well its time to stop being "desperate" and act like the titan company that they are........to put it plainly,... they dont need apple to succeed......

in response to #14

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 23:05

41. Commentator (Posts: 3684; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

To cut off Apple would be to snub Google's entire reason for being: a technological world united by Google services. Sure, cutting off the iPhone would be harmful to iPhone users, no question, but does Google really want or need to see that? This isn't a case Android v. iPhone. This is a case of Google following its mission statement. Obviously they don't need Apple to succeed.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 18:50 4

23. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

There are so many google services that Apple users use on a regular basis and one of them was maps. This proves that Apple's super duper "polished" ecosytem is made possible on the back of google.

Yea, I'm sorry, but at this point I think Google should break character and hold its apps for randsom against Apple. If ya want the apps back, knock off all your stupid litigation or watch you iOS users knock over your ivory tower when so many things wont work right.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:03 1

25. FkapV2 (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)

You forgot Google's motto: "Don't be evil"

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:18

26. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

That wouldn't really be evil though. That would be hardball.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:25 1

28. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I would think it doesnt break the "dont be evil" motto, in fact I think its a scorched earth way of stopping the evils of Apple's litigation madness.

"Knock this shyt off or we will be forced to remove keystones from your OS and watch it crumble"

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 19:22 1

27. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

I'm loving the Tumblr on this. I may just bookmark it on my phone so I can show customers. *evil grin*

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 22:13

40. trunkmonkey (Posts: 6; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)

I thought the reason Apple moved away from using Google in their native maps app is because Google started charging "high volume" users of Google Maps API. To me it sounds like Apple was being petty because Google Maps API had always been free with unlimited use before. They should just pay Google for the "high volume" traffic when using Google Maps API. It is not like they are hurting for money.

This could be a good experiment for Google to see if it even makes sense for them to release a iOS app. Of course they are working on one, but things can always change.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 23:16 2

42. Savage (unregistered)

Shot yourself in the foot, eh Apple? You better be sending a big-long letter of thanks and boxes of almonds covered with chocolate to Google for providing maps. Atleast they can save you from this map fiasco.
The app will be good, no doubt. The Youtube one works like a charm like it does on Android devices. And god-forbid Apple, if you hold the maps back because of "duplicating iOS-feature" reason, Many users, including myself, will go ballistic.

posted on 20 Sep 2012, 23:38 2

43. chebner (Posts: 233; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I think a better question than "when will Google release Google Maps for IOS?" is will Apple allow Google Maps into the app store? I think Apple's ego is too big for them to allow it.

It would be too much of an admission that Apple Maps is inferior. Contrary to what they would like you to believe, Apple is only concerned about what is best for the consumer when what is best for the consumer is also best for Apple. In this situation what is best for the consumer is a polished high functioning maps app. Google Maps could obviously fill this need, but in allowing it Apple would be admitting Apple Maps isn't good enough.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple rejects Google Maps. Their stance would be "We feel Apple Maps is good enough for the average user, which is our target market. If some people feel.they need a better Maps app then they pay for a 'premium' navigation app like Garmin." Most iSheep will accept and believe what ever Apple tells them to believe anyway.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 00:31

45. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

There is no way Apple could block it. There are already mapping and navigation apps available in the App Store, so Apple wouldn't have any grounds to block it. Combine that with all of the pressure from the media if it got out that Apple was blocking or even delaying the Google Maps app, and Apple would just be setting itself up for a worse PR mess.

Even when Google Maps is released, it will still be relegated to second class status, just like Chrome, because there is no way to change the default app handler in iOS. So, Apple will always have the advantage.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 03:28

47. rallyguy (Posts: 620; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)

To the author, good article. It was well balanced and informative. Not the typical biased article posted on PA.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 03:38

48. app_droid_soft (Posts: 42; Member since: 09 Sep 2012)

Steve jobs gone and once again Apple is forgetting who Apple is!...HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 07:04

49. Aeires (unregistered)

It's not that Apple has lost focus, they just aren't used to running with (or behind) the pack. Apple was great when they were in front, but Android (and now WP) has passed them up so they are in a perpetual state of catching up. That's not Apple's strength.

And now they have a bean counter as a CEO, expect more problems in the future. Tim doesn't have the vision that Steve did and Ives isn't going to save this company because there's only so much Braun influence you can use before even those design concepts get old. iOS looks almost identical to the day it was released where even WP has made changes in it's short life span. Apple needs to "think differently" instead of rehashing the same old ideas year after year.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 07:51

51. lyndon420 (Posts: 4369; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

How's that awesome user experience going for you apple? Lol.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 08:00

52. frustyak (Posts: 209; Member since: 08 Mar 2010)

Just curious - is there any possibility that Apple wouldn't give approval for a Google Maps app?

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 09:16

53. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 886; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

If it allows Ios users to get Google Maps its worth it. Their old Maps system was horrible so what's a couple of more weeks and months of crap. In Googles defense they're going to make a crap load of money out of this so its win win.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 11:43

54. cfprelude (Posts: 137; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

google maps for iOS6 with turn by turn navigation for all iphones eligible to have iOS6 (isnt that back to the 3GS...?).... That'd be huge for millions of iphone4 users and actually probably give iphone4 users one LESS reason to upgrade to the 5. I could see many good arguments for google to release it sooner than later.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 12:11

55. lyndon420 (Posts: 4369; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Forget apple Google. They don't appreciate you anyway. Keep your amazing services for those of us that are loyal to your platform.

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 13:51

56. saiki4116 (Posts: 379; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)

I love android,Ubuntu....I cant understand why people are bashing iOS maps that much..Atleast Apple under Tim Cook is changing and doing things which does not do..

posted on 21 Sep 2012, 15:00

57. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)

its because of apple's arrogance. they get rid of google maps for one reason- they want to have full control. then when they replace the excellent google maps its with a half arsed map app..........

why get rid of the excellent google maps for a crap one.
they arrogantly thought they could just rush in and do what its taken the likes of nokia and google years to do.

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 21:21

58. Mobile_CTO (Posts: 4; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

Is the question whether Google will submit an iOS 6 app? I thought the question is whether Apple would ACCEPT an iOS 6 app from Google. They'd rather be collecting all that user and location data themselves.

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