There is currently lots of vitriol online regarding the failure of Apple Maps. Inaccurate detection of locations, lack of Street View, lack of nearby amenities being shown, no public Transport routing etc etc.
It is true. I believe Apple has made a mistake. The Maps app that they self-curated wasn’t as up to mark to consumer expectations. It seems like another Beta software .. sounds familiar ? Remember the release of Siri last year ? Beta version, they say. HAHA.
Some commentators have said that Apple has lost it focus on its users and instead is letting its intense rivalry with Google dominate its policies and actions.
However, I feel that Apple has simply decided to take the bitter pill now rather than later. Mapping apps provide valuable consumer data which can lead to other revenue gaining opportunities. For instance, letting the mapmaker know which location is more popular based on location-based pings from the user and location-based ads which can be served to consumers using the app. Apple doesn’t want Google to obtain all these data anymore, it wants the data for itself.
Additionally, it also dealt a blow to one of Google’s main revenue arm, advertising. ( Yeah, this could be partly attributed to the rivalry..) iPhone users account for half of the total Google Maps traffic in the US even though there is a greater proportion of Android users (60%) compared to iOS (34%) .
However, there is another core reason why Apple decided to make its own Maps app. In the agreement between Apple and Google regarding Apple’s usage of Google Maps on its iDevices, there is a specific clause stating that Apple cannot include turn-by-turn navigation. This means that Apple devices with Google Maps will always be one step behind Android Phones, which have turn-by-turn navigation a long time back. This surely would not do for Apple.
All-in all, I feel that Apple made a bold move in attempting to wean its reliance of Google Maps and also reducing the inflow of data to Google in the process, but the self-curated Maps App definitely needs improvements to ensure the sleek user experience Apple is known for.