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ios6apocalypse: Maps May Drive Apple Round the Bend

Pride Comes Before a Fall

The problem is such a monumental undertaking has clearly taken up a huge amount of Apple's iOS development time and resources. iOS Maps is the only major new feature in iOS6 for a reason yet its realisation only makes the platform worse, at least initially. Now the backlash has started Apple has to give up even more time and resources which could and should have been spent elsewhere.

nokia maps

When will this end? It is hard to say. If Apple goes a step further and rejects a Google Maps iOS app the answer will be: for many years. Conversely if Apple accepts an app the risk is the feeling Google is riding to the rescue. It is also worth remembering, like YouTube, Google Maps on iOS was a crippled implementation. YouTube improved dramatically when its native restrictions were cut and Google could surely improve a Google Maps app far faster than Apple can resuscitate iOS Maps. The disparity would grow. In 2007 Nokia bought Navteq and Nokia Maps is now widely acclaimed. Given its role with Google and foundation in BlackBerry Maps maybe Apple should've just bought TomTom… but it didn't.

The millstone with a jet pack

All of which means iOS Maps is going to be a millstone around Apple's neck for years to come. Critics have even forecast it could spell the end for Apple, poetically brought down by its own ego. But to write off the biggest company in the world is foolhardy, regardless of whether it has bitten off more than it can chew. Yes iOS Maps is a long term money pit. Yes UIs are moving on from Apple's rigid grid icons towards dynamic widgets and tiles. Yes iPhone hardware is now largely playing catch-up, but Apple maintains a huge weapon: eight, five, seven, seventeen and three.

ios6

Apple can improve iOS for all in an instant with its unilateral software updates. Whereas Google Android 4.1 has barely passed one per cent adoption in three months, 15 per cent of all iOS traffic came from iOS6 equipped devices within 24 hours of its release. Apple knows Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 has the potential to do the same, but with just a four per cent market share - for now - there are bigger fish to fry.

As such, regular and innovative iOS updates need to flow throughout the lifetime of iOS6 and by iOS7 major reinvention must be the order of the day. Apple primarily made iOS6 to satisfy itself, in 12 months time the focus needs to be back on customers…

UKA

September 24, 2012, 2:30 pm

...I dont like sushi too...stupid article

rsrd

September 24, 2012, 5:37 pm

I can't help but feel massively disappointed with Apple over this. My family has a large number of Apple devices accumulated over the years as our need shave changed, grown etc. and while I would never accept the 'Apple fanboy' title, principally because it is a childish generalisation ignoring rational reasoning, I would consider us as an Apple leaning family...it hasn't let us down yet (whereas various implementations of Windows, Linux, Symbian etc have)...

This release of iOS6 though smacks of bean counting which was always a worry when Mr Cook took the helm. Get the product out, make the money, fix it later does not a happy customer base make. I have actively told my wife that she should hold off upgrading to an iPhone 5 (as her contract is ending soon anyway) and we don't even use or frankly need the Maps app. I can't be the only one that worries what other bugs lie within.

The transient consumerism of mobile phones will not put up with this for long.

Gordon394

September 24, 2012, 9:42 pm

stupid comment

Gordon394

September 24, 2012, 9:45 pm

I think - Maps aside - iOS6 is a polishing of iOS5 so it feels like Apple is treading water. I know how you feel, the iPhone 5 is the first iPhone I'm not overly tempted to own. It is difficult to put my finger on why, but I think with the 4S iPhone hardware was no longer the limit, iOS was - this hasn't changed with the iPhone 5.

It feels like the lack of excitement you get when buying a new PC or laptop when it will run the same version of Windows as your old laptop.

mikfrak

September 24, 2012, 10:05 pm

It's a bit unfair on Apple. Google was deliberately holding back features of Google maps such as turn by turn navigation to give Android a competitive edge. Apple was forced to put its own mapping solution on the iPhone and it has cost Apple hundreds of millions of dollars so far, so it is hardly fair to accuse the company of bean counting. Apple was forced into this position by Google.

Pbryanw

September 25, 2012, 1:58 am

Yes, you can understand lack of innovation on the desktop where Mountain Lion felt like a polishing of OS X 10.7 and Windows 8 is the same as 7 except with a Touch OS bolted on.

However, on mobile devices you still feel there's room for innovation. Look at Windows Phone 8 (with its live tiles) where Microsoft have had to innovate to try and claw back market share. And Android keeps getting meaty updates, despite only a small percentage of users able to upgrade to the latest version.

It does feel like iOS has stagnated a bit, and that this can't be the pinnacle of Touch design. Still, I see that iPhone 5 has sold 5 million in its first 3 days - maybe people don't mind a familiar, though uninspired, mobile OS?

CodeMonkey

September 26, 2012, 8:58 pm

Apple was not forced into this position. They had a year left on their contract with Google but chose to exit early, taking Google by surprise.
The iOS Google Maps app was written by Apple under the same terms of service that Google offers all developers who want to use their maps functionality - these terms specifically exclude providing turn by turn functionality.
Based on their jobs postings (looking for Mapping engineers some 2 months ago) it seems that Apple was fully aware of the inadequacy of their iOS mapping solution, but they chose to put a corporate hissy fit ahead of their customers.
In any event - why shouldn't Google use their data, infrastructure and APIs to offer some customers an advantage? AFAIK Apple still don't permit other MP3 player manufactures proper access to iTunes interfaces, and indeed regularly update iTunes to prevent it.

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