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iPhone 5 & Google Maps

Nov 1, 2012

The iPhone 5 has been very well received by critics and consumers alike. People love the sleek feel of the new slimmer design, are blown away by the features, and are left in awe that Apple once again has managed to deliver a knock out device, mostly.

There is one serious stain on the carpet for the launch of the iPhone5 that has Apple serious considering what went wrong with their plans. The stain on an otherwise perfect launch? Apple’s replacement map software, that was supposed to be the undoing of Google maps and replace them forever on the iPhone turned out to be a rather humorless joke – well the folks at Google probably thought it was funny. The strange, complicated, and incompleteness of the iPhone’s maps left users befuddled and lost, quite literally. And wondering why on earth Apple had decided to stay away from Google in this critical area.

The answer is simple; competitors that have been infringing on Apple’s core market have been getting a better and more sophisticated version of Google maps. This version found on the Android platform offers the user turn by turn directions which was significantly lacking in the iOS version of the maps. The lack of voice navigation ultimately turned out to be a deal breaker between the two giants when they sat down to negotiations. Google did offer several solutions and in returned asked for several concessions which Apple declined to be party to. These included adding Google Latitude to the Apple phone or in app branding for Google on the iPhone, both of which Apple did not agree to. Ultimately however, it was the voice navigation that caused the discussions to fall apart.

Google believes, and potentially rightfully so, that they have the best maps app on the planet and that it should be freely available to all users regardless of the type of device they use. Apple wants Google to level the playing field, but is unwilling to make compromises to its core belief system including that Google collects too much data off the maps applications. Despite being in a yearlong contract at this point, the two giants companies could not reach an equable solution which resulted in a disappointing release for the iPhone5 in one area – maps.

There is potential good news for the avid iPhone5 / Google Maps App user however. Because Google was caught relatively unaware of Apples plans not to release the iPhone with Google Maps, it has continued to develop the software, which could be available later in the year according to some reports. Apple would have to approve adding Google Apps back to the iOS6 platform, which is where the war of words gets a little hotter. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, announced on September 25th 2012 that despite the year long contract iPhone5 users should not hold their breath as Google Maps is not coming to the device any time soon.

In the meantime, one can believe that there is a determined team of programmers working feverishly to fix the Apple Maps application – and regardless of whether the app gets fixed or Google Apps makes a comeback, eventually the consumer will win.

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