Apple faces criticism following mapping shift - Mobile World Live

Apple faces criticism following mapping shift

20 SEP 2012

Apple has been on the receiving end of criticism from early adopters of iOS6, the latest version of its device operating system, centred on the decision to replace Google’s mapping services with Apple’s own products.

Apparently, Apple’s mapping offering lacks several of the core features of Google’s services, including in areas such as street view, public transport routing, traffic information, and points of interest listings.

In addition, maps have been criticised for lacking detail, especially outside of major urban areas, with the accuracy also called into question.

Some features are new, such as turn-by-turn navigation, which was not available in the Google-powered app.

The challenge for Apple in the mapping space comes in that Google has spent many years, and invested heavily, in building up its portfolio in this space, to create a user experience and database that cannot be recreated overnight.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research, told Bloomberg: “In the short term, Google has a better mapping application, and iPhone customers will suffer.”

Apple has been in the process of distancing itself from Google, as the companies find themselves competing fiercely in the mobile space.

While dropping Google for its mapping services is the most high-profile instance of this, Apple has also dropped the embedded YouTube app from iOS6 – an issue Google swiftly worked around by offering a downloadable version for the App Store.

It has been suggested that Google is likely to offer a competing Maps app for iOS soon, although Apple does have a track record of playing hard-ball with apps that replicate core iOS functionality – meaning the internet giant may have some trouble bringing a product to market.

In addition, Google has now also gained something of a competitive differentiator for devices powered by its Android platform, which still have access to the mapping suite.

Google Maps is still available through the iOS device browser.

Some of the earliest upgraders also noted issues with WiFi connectivity after installing iOS6, although it has been widely reported that this has now been rectified.


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