It’s clear now that Apple jumped the gun when it chucked out Google Maps for its own mapping software in iOS 6. Since the recent OS upgrade, iPhone users have found both humor and frustration with distorted satellite images, poor directions, and missing or mislocated addresses in the new Apple Maps app.
This week, All Things D is reporting on what it believes is the reason Apple decided to drop the feature-rich Google Maps app and put its less-developed Maps software in its place. Apparently, Apple was miffed at Google’s refusal to provide it with voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. All Things D cites “multiple sources familiar with Apple’s thinking” as saying that the feature wasn’t part of the agreement Google and Apple had over providing Google Maps on iOS. All Things D also cites “people familiar with Google’s thinking” as saying Google has a large investment in the feature, and sees as an Android feature it issn’t willing to just give to Apple.
Free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation in conjunction with Google Maps has been a feature of Google’s Android operating system for years. It’s clear that the feature was badly needed for the iPhone, but Apple may have shown some hubris when it decided it could create its own Maps software. Though the iPhone’s Map app will no doubt rise in quality over the next year (Apple is hiring software engineers for that specific purpose) it will have a long way to go to catch up with Google Maps, which has 7,100 employees working on it.