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Google Won't Release a Maps App for iOS6 Unless Apple Begs Them

Authored by: Steven Blum — Sep 25, 2012

The crowds have spoken, and they positively hate Apple's new Maps app. So far, iPhone 5 users who don't want to use Apple's misguided, apocalyptic Maps app can either use Google Maps via their browser or Google Earth, but the future of a dedicated Google Maps app for iOS 6 seems cloudy if we are to believe recent statements by Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

Speaking in Japan, Eric Schmidt seemed a bit cagey, placing the onus on Apple. He said that Google would "welcome" Apple's cooperation but said that "we haven't done anything yet" to prepare a new version of Google Maps for iOS. He also said, "we think it would have been better if they had kept our [app]. But what do I know?"

This statement contradicts previous rumors that Google had prepared a Maps app but that it hadn't been approved by Apple. In other words, the onus is now on Apple to contact Google if they want their superior Maps app back on their beloved iPhone 5.

Schmdit seemed to leave the future of Google's partnership with Apple up in the air, saying,  “I’m not doing any predictions. We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I’m not going to speculate at all what they’re going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit.”

Meanwhile, Apple is furiously snatching up old Google Maps employees in a last-ditch effort to increase the quality of their Maps search results. They've also assured users that they're constantly updating their Maps app, which probably provides cold comfort to anyone stuck with using maps in its beta version over the coming weeks. 

Overall, we're a bit surprised Google isn't leaping on this opportunity to swoop in and save desparate iPhone owners. This could have been the ultimate PR stunt for Google, but Schmidt seems more interested in playing cat and mouse with Tim Cook. 

(Top photo: theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com)

Source: Slash Gear

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

21 comments

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  • Dvoraak Oct 8, 2012 Link to comment

    Just spent a full day going back and forth between Apple's map app and Google's map page trying to find the places I wanted to go in Grand Junction CO and found nothing but RAGE! Apple's turn by turn is slickly done and works well but it doesn't know where half the businesses are. Google's mobile page isn't anywhere near as good as the old app and it stops updating the user's position or simply places the icon in the wrong place and freezes it. Normally I wouldn't have to rely so heavily on a map app since the areas I work in are well known, but today I'm in a new state trying to branch out and getting very little help from Apple or Google.

    If I hadn't already made up my mind to go with the Note 2, today's nightmare would have convinced me. For anyone who needs a good map app for their job Apple is the absolute worst choice right now.

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  • David H. Oct 5, 2012 Link to comment

    The longer the Apple maps suck the better it is for Google. More and more customers will become dissatisfied with Apple, and more people will not buy the new iPhone 5.
    If Google jumps in now everyone will be happy, and for their good deed Google will give the advantage back to Apple by allowing them to have satisified customers.
    Google should delay putting their maps on iOS 6 for as long as possible, but appear to be very eager to help out, maybe handcuffed by Apples silliness.
    As for Google employees being hired by Apple, of course Apple will step all over Googles patents, it's what they do!
    it will take time, though, for apreciable benefits to be seen in the Crapple maps, and people who buy the iPhone don't in general like to be inconvenienced by their devices, it's why they prefer iOS.

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  • Dude Guy Oct 3, 2012 Link to comment

    Kinda sad when Apple is in the process of hiring former Google Maps developers in order to fix the problem.

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  • CJ Brown Oct 1, 2012 Link to comment

    Apple did this to themselves .. .sure Google could've received some awesome PR by saving the day - but why not make Apple sweat for as long as they can? (after all, this is the same Apple who threatened every Android Smart Phone Manufacturer with a copywrite patent lawsuit, so why not force Apple to make the friendly gesture) ...

    I agree that Tim Cook is doing the right thing by fessing up to Apple Cult Consumers (something Steve Jobs would never ever do) regarding iPhone problems ...

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  • Dvoraak Sep 28, 2012 Link to comment

    "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook said in a letter to customers released on its website, adding that the company "fell short" of its commitment to deliver "the best experience possible to our customers."

    Well, in this one thing Cook outshines Jobs. Jobs might never have let this abomination hit the market but he also would never apologize.

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  • Patrick R. Sep 28, 2012 Link to comment

    @Dvoraak I don't think Samsung would like the idea of the Note calling their owner bi*ch every other sentence. haha.

    Imagine what would happen if we gained control of Samsung or Apple.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 27, 2012 Link to comment

    @Patrick - I'm going to copy and paste your post and send it to Samsung as your résumé. They need you brother and now I need Sam Jackson in my Note 2.

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  • Patrick R. Sep 27, 2012 Link to comment

    @Guy, what matters most is where they get their data. I think the Apple software for maps amd even Siri would be close, equal or maybe surpass google's versions if they had the proper data. Fortunately or unfortunately (depends on which side of the fence you sit) the best source at the moment is Google, their fiercest competitor.

    Sure, some mapping apps offer more funtionality or features for specific cities or countries. On the other hand, Google has the most comprehensive mapping data of the entire world. So Apple went with Tom Tom for maps and Wolfram for Siri. Naturally, it would be beaten by the king of search google who's core business is search engines. This is a battle of data, like all things these days. He who has the data, knows how to handle it and can simplify it is king. And this round - as far as maps, voice commands and searches go - that's Google.

    Although I am surprised Apple did not name their maps app like they did siri. Once you name something, you get attached to it. Siri is the best marketing tool in the iPhone arsenal. The phone now has a name and a gender to boot. Imagine what would happen if Samsumg named S Voice, Sammy and gave it a little personality along with Samuel L. Jackson's voice?

    "Sammy, what's the weather like?"

    "Patrick, it's gonna f**king rain cats and dogs later. Don't forget your frickin rain coat."

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  • User picture
    Guy Devos Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    Even if Apple puts all their manpower on Maps, it will take years before it will be on par with what Google has right now. And Google won't sit still meanwhile.

    Anybody tried compass mode yet?

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  • Glostermeteor Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    I think the not so subtle hint is.....if you want Google Maps you should buy Android. The problem with that approach is that eventually someone will come up with a system that is just as good.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    @Patrick - That last paragraph of yours almost encapsulates my point. Android itself being free and Apple products generating something around 70% of mobile web traffic means that Android users aren't really generating much revenue for Google by any means (relative to Apple).

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  • Patrick R. Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    @Dvoraak, I don't think Google is secretly salivating... they ARE OPENLY salivating haha. I think the licensing rates for google maps is something like USD4 per 10,000 hits. This does not distinguish between actual and substantial use and an accidental access or showing the app off to an uninformed friend.

    Assuming there are 50mil iPhones out there in the wild and a quarter of them uses GMaps once a day. You'll get an idea why Google is not hot on the idea of providing iOS with the app and why Apple attempted to ditch them in the first place.

    If they put up the App on the Apple store then they are essentially providing the service for free without means to recoup the lost revenue from Apple. Unlike for Android users who generates revenue for them through other means.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    I originally thought it was a good idea for Apple to drop Google maps (I was assuming Apple would do it well.... that's what they've always done before) and I KNEW it was a good idea to drop the youtube app (SERIOUSLY THAT APP SUCKED). I hope they're not too stubborn about bringing Google maps back. I doubt Google will be. The last data I saw a couple of months ago had Apple producing almost 70% of mobile web usage. What are the chances Google's not (secretly) salivating at the thought of getting back in?

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  • User picture
    Maldor Sep 26, 2012 Link to comment

    Which then begs the question: why the switch from Google maps to their own software?
    Anyway the new maps (from a third person view (I don't own a smartphone (tablet users unite!))) on the iPhone looks like they don't care about massively testing their maps, If they attached a beta thing and gave it to random people to test then I wouldn't think it so bad, but THEY DIDN'T.
    Now to answer the question above
    Anything but google is ok...

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  • eworldtech Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    Google probably knows that Christmas is an important time for phone sales, so it probably will not want to release an app this year, knowing that consumers sitting on the bench maybe swayed to Android.

    Also using Google maps in the browser is not the same as an app. For a start, the offline feature is great when there is no 3g/4g signal. In addtion, it's not intergrated. If you ask Siri directions, for example, it will use Apple Maps.

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  • Jay chew Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    the next thing you hear, Eric Schmidt gonna tell iPhone users, "If you want Google Maps, Android's door is always open for you." lolx

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  • Patrick R. Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    Google is not "jumping all over this" because they prefer Apple to remain as their client for google maps and you tube. What is good for Google is not necessarily good for android. Its the small picture big picture thing.

    Apple was their biggest source of income from royalties for gmaps and youtube and they want them back - for the short term at least, until they figure out how to replace the lost revenue.

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  • Steven Blum Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    Very smart analysis, Patrick!

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  • Patrick R. Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    I am not surprised Google is not jumping into Apple's rescue in this one. They lost a bit of revenue from apple ditching google maps and youtube. Of they provide the app for iOS it would be for free - unless of course apple agrees to shoulder whatever fee google demands (i highly doubt this). But would iOS users switch because of a faulty maps app? Nope, a work around exists. Those dependent on maps would happily use their browsers - it should be fast, they got LTE now.

    If this drags on however, coupled with Apple's potential inability to fix this, it might drive a few thousand users to Android. If Google's legal team were smart, they would have incorporated a "none compete clause" in the employment contracts of googlers past, present and future. This would make their collaboration with iOS maps a very expensive preposition for Apple.

    But i am guessing Apple will cave before that happens, they'll renew google maps or even agree to pay a royalty and pull google map data - to save face and say they fixed it themselves - then continue their own development and release it when it is finally trully ready for prime time.

    Google for its part, should develop android only features for maps, youtube etc. etc. Make stock android a little more compelling than iOS.

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  • Bradley Larcher Sep 25, 2012 Link to comment

    Apple has no one to blame but themselves for the maps fiasco. They knew their maps wasn't ready for primary use but released it anyway expecting their fans to accept it. But that didn't happen, and they are receiving a lot of bad press for it. Why they didn't stick with Google? Their hatred of Android. They want to do everything themselves, and the less dependency they have on third parties, the better.

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