Sep 20 AT 3:51 PM Dustin Earley 96 Comments

Bad move Apple: ditching Google Maps is a huge mistake for consumers

google maps ios

When two partners in business slowly make the transition to rival companies, there are bound to be some casualties. Apple and Google are perfect examples of this. As each company tries to find their happy medium of involvement with each other, services are going to be killed, support squashed and new alliances formed. Consumers should never be at a disadvantage because of it, but that’s exactly what has happened with Apple introducing their own mapping service instead of sticking with Google’s.

Fans of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android often find themselves in heated debates on just about any difference you can come up with between the two platforms. Discussing mobile policy and how it affects the future of technology is healthy. Especially when both sides can respect each other. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that.

One of the oldest arguments between Android and iOS fans boils down to the specs and services each platform boasts. “The iPhone can barely hold a candle to last generation’s Android phones! Let Alone the flagships,” Android fans shout out in the comments. “Apple doesn’t need to jump on the spec bandwagon. They’re all about making changes for the sake of consumer good,” reply the Apple fans. In my eyes, both the Android and Apple fan are right. Android phones do tend to be more experimental, always on the cutting edge of technology. And if Apple doesn’t see a huge benefit, or enough of a tradeoff, for adding a new feature or service, they won’t. Or at least they didn’t.

Now that iPhone 5 reviews are starting to trickle online from all sorts of respected technology publications, and there are a couple common themes being echoed by those who have spent some quality time with the device. One of which is that the move away from Google Maps is bad. Even John Gruber, who is well noted for his love of Apple and everything they do, took to his blog where he rounds up quips and quotes related to his interests to say that it, “seems pretty clear the new Maps is going to be the biggest problem with iOS 6.” He then goes on to say that it might not be Apple’s fault though. Who knows if Google wouldn’t play, or if Apple is just being arrogant.

The bottom line is this: it’s unanimous, Apple’s new maps suck compared to Google Maps. There’s entire websites dedicated to it. Finding venues is hard, directions are wonky, and search is lacking. In the past, Apple was known as the company who would go above and beyond for the sake of consumers. They didn’t include LTE in the iPhone until this year because LTE support wasn’t wide spread, and because battery life took a hit. But this is different.

Apple is essentially screwing consumers out of the best experience possible because they don’t want to improve Google Maps any more, by providing Google with precious data. Google has done the exact opposite recently. Google is working hard to release as many apps on iOS as possible. And they aren’t half-baked ports or dumbed down Android apps. Apple let Google take the reigns with YouTube, and Google made it better. Google has released a robust Google+ app, an app for Google Drive and a search app very similar to what’s available in Jelly Bean out of the box.

You can argue that Google is doing it just to get as many people using its services as possible because that’s how they make money, but that doesn’t matter. Those apps make the iPhone a better device for consumers. Apple’s maps do not.

It’s also being argued that once iPhone users start ditching Google Maps and use Apple’s native solution, Google’s experience will get worse, and Apple’s will only get better. Give me a break. Usage is only a fraction of the equation. Google is still light years ahead of Apple in maps, and in case everyone has forgotten, Android owns nearly 70% of the overall global smartphone marketshare.

Even if Apple maps do catch up, it could take years. Years that iPhone users are being forced to use an inferior service because Apple wants Google as far away from iOS as possible. How could you possibly defend that?

The only reasonable response I’d even begin to entertain is that Google will be releasing their own Maps app for iOS, so everybody kinda-sorta wins. Apple gets more map data and gets to cut Google out of the equation, and Google gets complete control over how Maps works on iOS devices. But even that still isn’t in consumer’s best interests.

The platform wars are bad for consumers, there’s no doubt about it. But rarely, so far, do the battles between companies have a direct, immediate affect on consumers. With Apple cutting out Google and choosing to implement their own mapping solution, consumers are being punished. Not cool, Apple. Not cool.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • jaxidian

    I simply can’t think of anything smug to say. No matter how you look at this, Apple brought this down upon themselves!

    • jaxidian

      um, I meant “I can’t think of anything not smug to say”. o.O

      • Tony Leon

        Dude, there is (more than) an app for that.

        • masdhu

          Really great! I bought a new iphone 5!I first need a nice protective housing!Here ( see a lot of beautiful!I love it!We go and see!

        • DroidRoca

          people still use that joke

    • Cara

      I think its a good move by apple to get rid of the betrayers samsung and google.
      Their own version of maps will be much superior soon.
      We trust Apple, they always make the right decisions.
      I will soon upgrade to the new worlds best phone iPhone 5.

      • Konstantinos

        Are you an idiot? Still, this comment was unnecessary.

      • CactusCat

        Thus sayeth the sheep.

        Did you notice that the troll is now trying to convince himself?

      • jamal adam

        It took Google, 7 years to get to where they are with Google Maps, 7 years!! Maybe in 7 years, iOS maps will be as good as Google Maps of today but by then, Google will be on cloud 9, sipping cool-aid while watching the earth spin on it’s axis, around the sun, and towards the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

        • zerosix

          By the way, it’s a great name for a Samsung phone :)

          • Hollandia

            I hope you mean Milky Way Galaxy, but yeah its a nice little name.

        • Homncruse

          If only Android used copyrighted names for OS releases, Milky Way would make an awesome Android 6.0 (or whatever) release name.

      • diabolic

        Your comment should say “Hidden due to low iq rating.” instead of “Hidden due to low comment rating.”.

      • rovex

        They make the decisions so you dont have to!

      • Monk

        dude, if jobs were alive he would never let this thing got released. it’s beta at least. your God is no longer here to take good decisions for you. maybe you will need to start thinking again…e

      • Yamada

        burn in hell. the samsung galaxy s3 will get alive and bang ur mom in her hole biatch :)

    • kazahani

      There’s no smugness in saying that this is the PERFECT example of why I hate Apple. They have become so anti-competitive that they would rather hurt their user base than use a Google product. They knew going into this that their maps weren’t on par with Google’s yet. They need a couple more years of work before it will be, but rather than wait and polish it they rushed it out in iOS 6 so they could dump Google. They are whiny crybaby assholes and I hate them.

      • Bolski

        Even Steve Wozniak has stated he prefers his Droid RAZR camera over the iPhone, although he’s curious to see how the new iPhone 5 will be. Apparently, the camera is the same. all that is different is the lens that is supposed to be less scratch resistant.

        Sounds like Woz will stick with his Droid RAZR.

        The removal of Google Maps is just one more example of the arrogance of Apple that has turned me away from them. What is sad is, I LEARNED programming on an Apple ][ way back in the early 80's. Jobs took the "openness" of the Apple ][ and destroyed it when he released the Mac. By that time, Woz had left. It's too bad Woz didn't take a stand against Jobs and demand that the openness of the Apple ][ stay as is and give users a choice between the Apple ][ brands and the Macs. instead, Jobs wanted to dictate and choose what he "felt" was best for the users, rather than giving them a choice.

        Hence, that's why I'm still on a PC and that's why my phone is a Droid and it's how I'll stay for a long time unless Apple decides to quit being arrogant about how it knows what's best for the consumer.

  • TatiG

    Relax iOS users, Google is more interested in your data than fighting Apple. You will get your Google Map soon.

    • zerosix

      Because Google is not about stupid agression, but providing it’s users the best service.

      Really, the iPhone 4 was the best iPhone. 4S and 5 have better specs, but they don’t bring anything new. Of course, iPhone 5 will be sold very good. But Apple’s level is getting lower, and that concerns HW, SW and services.
      Apple has to understand, that now they are catching up. And that they have more fails, than ever.

  • Co1e

    Im sure Im still gonna have to hear about how “rad” it is from my iphone friends.

    • kazahani

      Yeah don’t you love the way that Apple is selling this as an “amazing” new feature? That’s what all their parrots will be spouting.

  • skugern

    Sounds like their ‘growing pain’s are getting painful

  • Adryan maldonado

    I couldnt agree more with this article. I feel bad for ios but all is fair in love and patent wars(i know patents arent involved in this situation but is a play on words) and the choices you make.

  • alexanderharri3

    This hits college students especially hard. Google has GREAT building data across college campuses. It also has inside mall directions. Sure, it’s not perfect – but it’s top notch. Look to your Android neighbor or if you’re looking to find your class building.

    Penn State example:

    • Dwin

      Android still really only has Google Maps to use, iOS has all the big names plus they will have Google Maps and Apple Maps. How is that a loss??

      • TheOozyMan

        So Android has the best maps app and iOS has a browser version of the best maps and a dedicated app for one of the worst…cool.

      • jamal adam

        Android only needs Google Maps because it’s simply, hands down, the best Map Application in the world. It doesn’t matter what other “big name” maps are out there because at the end of the day, Google Maps, is the biggest of them all and consumers will continue to love it and use it.

        • kazahani

          For God’s sake they drove cars with cameras on them down and up EVERY SINGLE ROAD EVER. It was one of the most ambitious undertakings in the history of the internet. Apple is silly to think that they can throw together an “amazing” new maps app that compares to it.

      • Bolski

        There are plenty of other GPS/Mapping apps for Android. Co-Pilot is one of the best off-line GPS/map applications out there.

        Also, TomTom is apparently coming to Android as well in October.

        The loss to the customers is now they have NO access to Google Maps on their iOS phones until Google releases an official app in the app store. Until then, you’re stuck with Crapple Maps instead and if you HAD been using Google Maps before you updated your iOS version, then you’re really hurting now.

        What really is bad is how Apple is giving NO explanation as to why they did this rather than keeping it on in addition to Crapple Maps OR giving users a choice as to whether they keep Google Maps or replace it. That would have been better rather than not giving the user a choice. But then, this is Apple. Choice is not an option. It’s their way or the highway.

      • raichleb

        After viewing Apple maps images on other websites, I am hoping a version of the software is made available for Android. I find it highly entertaining.

      • Homncruse

        Um, actually, there are plenty of alternative Maps applications. Personally, I don’t find any of them to be as good as Google Maps, but they’re there for the people who prefer them.

  • Carlos

    I don’t think it’s that drastic. The service will get better much faster once it’s being used by millions of people, and I imagine Apple wouldn’t have bothered doing it if they didn’t have a long-term plan in mind.

    I expect Google to provide a Maps app at some point, just as they’ve done for Youtube. (My understanding is that the native app was dropped because the contract ran out, and at this point it would be bad for Google to keep that one going since it didn’t have ads.) But Google isn’t ready with the iPad version of the Youtube app – they say to look out for it “in the coming months”. So it’s easy to believe that they’re also working on the Maps app but don’t have the manpower to release it already.

    One of the funny things about iOS is that it’s less self-enclosed than it looks. Most iOS users have Gmail accounts, use Youtube, used Google Maps (and those who work in cities with good public transit will still use the mobile site), etc. Those who have PCs rather than Macs are very likely to use Google Drive and Picasa. And they like it that way. It can be more comforting to some people than having your whole mobile device life in the hands of one company. So for a lot of iOS users this war is bad news, and Google app downloads in iOS might prove it. Can’t wait to see if that happens.

    • masterpfa

      Yes my wife was furious at the loss of Google Maps and is slowly falling out of love with iPhones. All her previous iPhones have usually been purchased on day 1, not this time, along with serious consideration of moving away from iPhones altogether. All because of what appears to be Apple’s bloody mindedness (but at the same time it’s their party so they are totally at liberty to do as they please).

  • CJ

    I’m about figuratively and literally sick of all the space being wasted on Android centric websites about Apple and it’s maps mess. I think I’m gong to have to reevaluate what websites and rss feeds I use.

    • cellphish

      Please shut the door on your way out

    • kazahani

      We won’t miss you.

    • Homncruse

      You ARE the weakest link.

      Good bye.

  • EmeryLee

    Maybe Google can just sale the Google Maps data to Apple and then Apple can port that data and charge their users for access to that info through their mapping app. There’s gotta be a mutually beneficial solution to this.

    • kazahani

      Mutually beneficial to who? Google should just make a FREE Google maps app for the iTunes store. Show all those hipster kids running the show in Cupertino how responsible adults behave.

    • Homncruse

      That’s what I was arguing to my iSheep buddy the other day (who actually *works* for Apple, and is actually the guy who introduced me to Android… but I digress), but he seems firmly convinced that Apple doesn’t make mistakes.

  • cj100570

    Oops, meant to log in before posting this up above; I’m about figuratively and literally sick of all the space being wasted on Android centric websites about Apple and it’s maps mess. I think I’m gong to have to reevaluate what websites and rss feeds I use.

    • herbivore83

      “Better log in so when I get downvotes it really counts”

      • Homncruse

        I don’t get why he was downvoted so severely though. I agree with him. He brings up a very valid point.

        Go ahead, downvote me. I take all votes with pride, whether they’re up or down.

  • shadhussain

    I admit not great for iOS users but Apple seems to be taking a leaf out of Android’s game book here – they’ve released a beta product knowing that they need to get into the mobile-location-payment game as fast as they can otherwise, Google will runaway with it. Whether we Android fans admit it or not, it’s how Google entered the mobile market, caught up and thankfully, keeps excelling. Apple hated on Google for it.

    So, hypocritical tactic from Apple? Yes. Self-serving defensive business strategy? Most definitely.

  • seven2k

    Sucks for iOS users. Apple made the choice for them. People are scared of change and will take this one. Look at the lines already for the iPhone 5. I mean you can’t feel sorry for them if they don’t get what they’re getting g into or a ignorant about it.

    Even that blog in the article the guy still degrades Google maps…I dont know…..::shrug::

    • Mix

      The only thing that I can think of is why did Apple rush it? Apple is not known for releasing half-baked ideas, I think someone if turning over in their iGrave today.

      • kazahani

        They were so desparate to dump Google that they rushed it out half-baked.

        It’s stunning that Apple is actually willing to hurt their user experience to stonewall a competitor. They stopped sourcing all the iPhone components from Samsung as well, which will also turn out to be a bad move for them.

        • Mix

          I wager that you are correct and they wanted to try to fly without Google but I can’t believe that, after testing their product, that they decided to release it.

      • Homncruse

        It’s mostly a matter of data quality. I’m sure the app itself is just fine, it’s just working with piss-poor data that hasn’t been crowd-sourced or curated (like Google’s). It’ll improve with time, for sure, but having worked in a company which needed to consume GIS data, I can say with certainty that all purchasable GIS datasets suck. That’s why Google basically created their own, mostly from scratch.

  • Mix

    A few of my friend on FB have been posting about how crappy the new maps are.

    The funny part is that quite a few people drink hard from the Apple koolaid and are trying to explain that the iOS maps are better than Google Maps.

    I have read a few comments of people upset that public transit options are nearly non-existent, o that iOS Maps have told them to turn while they are on a bridge and these people get shot down by Apple fans stating that the new turn by turn feature is amazing and to shut up.

    I almost wished I lived in a perfect world were nothing goes wrong like some of these people do.

    • Paul

      Its the Rose coloured glassess syndrome! everything looks great in my little walled garden! LOL

  • Rovex

    You are all missing the point, this is Apples ‘simpler’, maps program, its designed only to show things that Apples users need. GAP, Apple and Urban Outfitter stores, Coffee bars and ATMs. Everything else so uncool and just confuses the user.

    • ozzzy3z

      Don’t forget about nearby law offices. You never know when someone will need to file a lawsuit.

    • ari-free

      It’s worse than you think. Look at the Apple Store on Apple Maps

      • Homncruse


  • Dwin

    I see it as a huge win for consumers, Apple users get a Google designed Maps apps that will likely be better and also have the Apple Maps. Competition is usually good for innovation. I would much rather have many good choices than one mediocre one.

    • ari-free

      Even if they get google maps, they won’t get turn by turn nav.

      • Homncruse

        They might, actually. Google might throw that in there if they want to stay competitive vs. Apple’s new maps application in the long-term (once Apple’s data set matures). They didn’t have it before because it wasn’t in the service agreement terms which have now expired between Apple and Google.

    • Pjamies

      I would rather Google (or Apple not allow) decide not to write an app for IOS and let
      the Fk’rs get lost on a back road!
      I would laugh my android off !!

      Apple blows sheep … (or isheep)

  • jamal adam

    This, I believe, is the start of Mapgate.

    • jamal adam

      I hope that someone doesn’t have an accident or something worse happen to them because they were follow the directions on Apple’s map.

      • herbivore83

        “iPhone Fans See Surge in ‘Maccidents’ ”

        ” ‘iSheep’ Will Follow their iPhones Anywhere, Even Off Bridge”

        • CactusCat

          Maybe we should drop the sheep word and start using “lemmings”.

  • Raptor

    Are you all for freedom, competition and choice? Hahaha
    Then you are for Apple Maps and Appppppple Search!

    /* Watch how morons will downvote themselves

    • Rovex

      There already was choice, but Apple are the ones now reducing it and doing so with a very inferior product.

  • h0ruza

    Apple are going to spend as much money as possible to make it work for the IOS users. They have money in abundance but I can’t help thinking it’s a foolish waste of money.

    I was looking at their maps app and the 3D looks good, the style is clean and gives more detail when you zoom in to streets and buildings…
    That said unless they make a desktop version Google maps will always have the upper hand in the integration of users daily live that span more than there phone.

    Then on top of that they would have to change the general public perception of using maps because on a whole if you think maps you think Google maps and or Google earth.

    Apple fans will swear blind they’re getting a better service but it’s a big task to compete with Google’s best product to date.

    Haha…. Greedy Apple

  • Ardrid

    The sad thing is Apple zealots will still trip over themselves to try and convince you that Maps is superior because turn-by-turn is included. And, bonus: it’s voiced by Siri!

    • Paul

      And the sadest thing of all is my old htc legend was updated in google maps nearly 2 years ago now, with turn by turn voice guidance! i could say navigate to such and such and off it went. This is only comeing out on the iphone 5, all a bit done way before and a bit sad for the clowns who think its a revoultion!

  • aranea

    A bad move for apple a very good move Android. :)

  • TruFactz

    Lmfao it doesn’t matter. Cause “the headphone jack…….is at the bottom………..BOOOOOOM!” Lmfao don’t worry, apple people “you’ll get it……may not be now…but next time……..right????”

  • jamal adam

    I wonder if Apple users can survive until December, when Google brings them Google Maps. As they say in the Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming.

  • calvin kelly

    Poor apple…arrogant bastards

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Where’s the final nail in the coffin guy when you need him?

    • jamal adam

      Many a time, I’ve wanted to punch that guy.

    • kazahani

      I might create a smurf account just so I can upvote this again.

    • Homncruse

      He imitates my name, so I’ll fill in for him this time.

      Final nail in the coffin for Apple.

  • johnfarrell

    What? iPhone 5 don’t have Google Map….

    It’s a biggest mistake by Apple. Apple shouldn’t see that this app is his business competitors but they should see how much it is useful for his consumers.

    Very bad step….

  • Chuxter

    Best move Google could do is to NOT release the iOS6 map app… after months of being completely lost, they will eventually find their way to Android.

    • Homncruse

      But that would be very un-Google.

  • Yohanes Mario Chandra

    We should start a world’s mourning day for Apple. Show them that we care. We are the good people. So, let’s mourn together for the fall of Apple. Apples was meant to fall anyway, since Newton share the first most famous falling apple.

  • masterpfa

    Great article and as quite rightly stated, the loser in all this are their customers. Users not just of Google Maps but also You Tube, GMail.
    Apple do need to be careful because loyalty can only be pushed so far.

  • DroidPower

    Tim cook dropped the apple on this one big time! what’s worse is that Google has an iOS6 maps app ready but apple hasn’t approved of it yet…

    I think Samsung should absolutely come out with a new commercial focused solely on the maps thing

  • smeghead68

    I first saw the google maps on the SIII and was blown away. It made me want to buy the phone just for that! The maps from iOS6 look plain jane!

  • jamal adam

    This is a great opportunity for Google to showcase Android and how Google Maps works perfectly on Android smartphones.

    • Homncruse

      I’m going to start renting out my Maps app for $2.50/turn.

      • jamal adam

        I think that looks to be a promising endeavor. You’ll be rich in no time lol.

  • Rodney A.

    The iOS 6 maps app is proof that Apple has “jumped the shark”. I have the 4S and am more of a Steve Jobs fan than an Apple fan. I don’t think he would have allowed the maps app in its current form.

  • chitrarth

    i agree google maps are far better than apple’s but there’s no match for nokia maps & turn by turn navigation, not even google maps!!!!!!

  • Rush

    Seriously, go get a style guide and learn how to use a comma. And, “There’s” should be “There are”. When in doubt, spell a contraction out.

  • Rush

    Other than the fact that this is an android fan-boy site with poorly written articles, I don’t understand the love for Google Maps. Half the time I search for a specific address it gives me some sponsored link miles away from my location and having absolutely no relevancy to what I was searching for! Good riddance to bad crap-ad-ware.

  • ZW

    Platform wars are bad for consumers? What are you a communist? Apple is making Google work harder and vice-versa. Apple’s arrogance in that they can do it all by themselves will be their downfall. Trendiness and slick designs only go so far.