Device operating systems

Apple: Sorry About Our Map App

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook apologized about the quality of Apple's homegrown map app for iOS 6, but he gave no indication if the company is working with former partner Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) on a standalone location app for the new mobile operating system.

Apple has stirred up a cloud of controversy around its iOS and iPhone 5 updates not seen since "antennagate" in 2010 by dropping the Google-based map app in its OS in favor of a home-brewed version using location data from GPS firm TomTom International BV . (See Apple's Answer to 'Antennagate'.) "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," writes Cook in a letter to users on the Apple website. "With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better." As a workaround for now, Cook suggests users download Bing, MapQuest and Waze from the app store or use Google or Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) maps by going to their Websites and creating an icon on their iPhone's home screen to access the map data via their browser.

So it is still not clear when -- or even if -- Google will deliver its own map app for iOS 6. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said earlier this week that it hasn't made a move to submit an app yet but is in constant contact with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

Why this matters
The vendor that controls the map app controls increasingly important and lucrative local search capabilities on the smartphone. It is also another indication, as if one was needed, of how little control carriers have over certain key aspects of smartphone functionality, even as the mapping apps use triangulation data derived from their networks to get a more accurate fix on users.

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:20:07 PM
re: Apple: Sorry About Our Map App

I guess Apple is also testing the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity.


Do you think you could get download numbers for iOS 6 and compare them to iOS 5?&nbsp; I wonder how many people have delayed upgrading just because of the maps fiasco.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:20:06 PM
re: Apple: Sorry About Our Map App

I thought this GigaOM article is a good summary of some of the reasons behind the maps decision too.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:20:06 PM
re: Apple: Sorry About Our Map App

Most of the posts they don&rsquo;t get how Apple works though.&nbsp; Google knows full well that Apple does not allow competitive offerings in the app store.&nbsp; If Apple offers a feature, you cannot have your app in the app store.

Since this apps offers access to cloud based music that competed with iCloud, it has to go.&nbsp; Of course Apple had no issue with it pre-iCloud.



Apple bought the company that produced Siri, so clearly Apple doesn&rsquo;t want anything to compete with their &ldquo;Beta&rdquo; product.


Both of these were in the last year and are not all of the examples.&nbsp; I wouldn&rsquo;t expect Google to come to the rescue with an app for Google Maps without Apple changing their ToS for all developers or without paying a lot of money to Google.

Of course Apple wanted to have their own solution and they really couldn&rsquo;t wait for iOS 7.&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t want one contract to end just as you show your replacement offering.&nbsp; Chances are Apple wanted to have a years worth of service left for previous releases of iOS.&nbsp; What will Google do when the contract is p?&nbsp; Technically they could just switch that service off, don&rsquo;t update the map information, etc and let Apple provide a fix.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m sure Google will be looking at how many users are still using iOS 5 and earlier in the coming months before making a decision.

If anything, this just shows why Apple approach is not in the best interest of the consumer, no matter how Apple spins it.

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