Sep 21, 2012
Apple Inc.’s decision to replace Google Inc.’s mapping data with its own technology in the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system stirred up a social media backlash on Thursday as users complained of misplaced towns, aerial photos obscured by clouds and a garden that was incorrectly identified as an airport.
But Apple has identified maps as a critical feature for the future of its smartphone platform and appears committed to weathering any short-term storm in order to build a lasting technology capable of rivalling Google Maps and providing the company with a wealth of user-generated, location-based data.
We appreciate all the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better
Apple spokeswoman Tara Hendela said the company launched the mapping service “knowing it is a major initiative and we are just getting started ….We appreciate all the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
Apple first previewed iOS 6 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June and said at the time that it would move to its own maps app, with turn-by-turn navigation, a flyover feature with photo-realistic 3D views and real-time traffic information.
The new mobile operating system has been generally well reviewed, but when iOS 6 came out on Wednesday (it will come standard on the iPhone 5, which goes on sale in retail stores Friday, and is available as a free upgrade for existing devices), much of the public reaction focused squarely on the weaknesses in the Maps app.
“At Apple, we strive for clean, uncluttered user interfaces. The new Maps removes unsightly place names, buildings, roads, and POIs,” read one message that about 800 users had retweeted to their own followers by Thursday afternoon.
Google had provided its Maps application to Apple since the iPhone first launched in 2007 but Apple is now trying to scale back its relationship with the search engine giant and maker of the Android mobile operating system found on many of Apple’s competitors’ devices.
Apple’s new app is created using data from the navigation firm TomTom, among other sources. While users can still access Google Maps through the iPhone’s browser, there is not yet a standalone Google Maps application available in Apple’s App Store.
In addition to the mapping change, the company also removed YouTube (a Google-owned site) as a default app but Google has since created its own YouTube app that is available through Apple’s App Store.
Google hasn’t stated publicly if it plans to create its own standalone maps application for iOS.
Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants it, regardless of device, browser or operating system
“Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants it, regardless of device, browser or operating system,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Earth.
“That’s about all we can say at this point.”
It is unusual for Apple to release less-than-polished products so it is “almost a given” that the company will be working to improve the application in a subsequent release, said Colin Gillis, a technology analyst for BGC Partners.
“On the margin it’s probably a mild negative,” he said. “But for people buying the iPhones now and probably in the December quarter, it’s just not a factor. They’re salivating and lining up in the cold and rain.”
Source: FIANACIAL POST