How is Apple Maps any different from the Android G1?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.