How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
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.

Conclusion

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.

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178 Comments

1. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 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

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

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

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Exactly bro

20. serious9010

Posts: 254; Member since: Jul 20, 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...

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

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.

125. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Apple could have just chosen that it could update Maps far faster if it were public than just working on it in house. Releasing it gives them a potential for millions of beta testers. Of course, the problem there is that Apple never said this was a beta app...

145. someones4

Posts: 627; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

There! Michael said it. The problem is apple. There won't be riots if apple weren't such a gigantic snob and called some beta app a 'work of art'. Should apple become like google which portrays itself as a provider instead of some elitist corporation, no one would have cared that imaps sucks

150. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No the problem is ignorance. If Google did the same thing no one would complain.

149. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Why would they need to call it beta? Google never called Android beta and it has problems all the time. It's only logical that Apple wanted to go with its own maps solution than rely on Google and allow them to profit off their data. Google didn't even want to provide some of the features Android maps has. For what it's worth, Apple Maps actually look and function better than Google Maps when it came out. Apple has plenty of resources to make it better. Make it better they will.

171. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 912; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

No but Google Maps was in beta for years. In fact every application that they made was beta sometimes annoyingly long but it let people use them with the honesty that it might not be 100%, hell it might even suck. Its the hubris that Apple has that pisses people off but at the same time has them lining up at launch. You can't have one without the other. Android fan boys give Apple too much crap and nitpick but Apple fan boys fogive too much.

87. dmckay12

Posts: 243; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Google didn't hold back on the app. Apple would not update it. Apple would have to spend its money to make a competitors product better. Same thing with the Youtube app. Apps on the iPhone cannot be integrated in IOS unless they come with the device and Apple thought Maps and Youtube needed to be integrated which meant updating them would require a firmware update. Apples accountants believed that it would not be worth the investment to update the apps.

166. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Not true. Google wouldn't allow Apple use of turn-by-turn navigation or vector maps. Apple could have updated the app, but it really only would have added public transit and indoor maps.

151. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Corrected. Google was profiting off the data provided by iOS users through their maps. Obviously Apple wasn't going to sit well with that in addition to not wanting to update Maps like they do on Android.

80. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 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

37. ahomad

Posts: 175; Member since: May 15, 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.

43. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Definitely not the smartest marking approach with an unproven product.

48. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

56. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

67. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

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

66. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Excuses are always made despite the obvious." Have tried to apply this rule for your self?

152. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I don't need to make excuses.

103. dudeyoureabarista

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

"Apple tries something new, and doesn't come out with a perfect first attempt, it is deemed an utter failure?" Well first off, Apple is am utter failure, sorry Apple fans, but let's face it, they're behind the competition. And secondly, you forgot to mention when Apple does release something the majority believe they invented it. Like Siri, voice recognition was on android way before apple. And even this it's a fail, it never even works.

104. dudeyoureabarista

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 24, 2012

And when Android releases something they had for a long time and after the iPhone comes out with it, poof! Android copied apple. Like seriously whenever somebody mentions a voice recognition software they say they did that in order to compete to Siri or something like that.

146. someones4

Posts: 627; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

I agree. They believe that apple is the centre of everything

154. yoomy

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 07, 2012

You guys are missing the point. The point is that the G1 was built in 2009. We expect better and more modern maps from Apple.

9. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

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

12. Hafiz

Posts: 78; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

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

38. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 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.

55. sniper1087

Posts: 537; Member since: Dec 31, 2011

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

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