The iPhone 5 has arrived. And with it comes iOS 6, the latest incarnation of Apple’s mobile operating system, infused with more shine and polish than last year’s model (is it just me, or does Safari on iOS 6 seem much faster than on iOS5?).
Something is missing among all the hyped eye candy of iOS 6. There’s no Google Maps. Instead, there’s Apple’s Maps.
We don’t know exactly what happened to Google Maps. Maybe Google raised the price so high that even Apple couldn’t afford it. Maybe Apple is so agitated with Google that they couldn’t wait to dump Maps and replace it with their very own maps. There’s little love lost between Apple and Google these days.
That loss of love and respect may be costing Apple more than Google. For now. iOS 6– for iPhone and iPad– features Apple Maps instead of Google Maps.
On the surface, maps are maps. Apple Maps actually seems a bit easier to read than Google Maps, but that’s of secondary importance. What is important is accuracy. Google Maps are not perfect, of course. It’s hard work mapping the entire world.
Beyond the obvious eye candy appeal of more color, beyond the built-in turn-by-turn navigation and directions, an attractive and nearly useless flyover 3D view, and Siri integration, Apple Maps are lame. Problematic. Flawed. Broken. At least, in places.
In just one day of usage, iPhone and iPad users all over the world have discovered flaw after flaw in Apple Maps that didn’t seem to be in Google Maps. Not only are there no public transportation options, some of the maps are just plain wrong.
Bad directions. Incorrect business listings. Missing landmarks. Distorted images. Then it gets worse.
I travel to the U.K. regularly and entered Heathrow in Apple Maps. The pin dropped on Heathrow, Florida. Not good, Apple.
To be fair, most locations I’ve tested in one whole day of using Apple Maps appear just fine. Google Maps was faster, but Apple’s turn-by-turn navigation is quite nice and hits the screen quickly, even on 3G.
This is Tim Cook’s first public disaster in the post-Steve Jobs era, so it will be interesting to see how quickly Apple recovers from the black eye. Will Google provide iOS users with a Google Maps app? After all, well over half their mobile maps users are about to disappear as iOS 6 gains traction and users upgrade.
We live in interesting times.