iOS 6 users hoping that Apple will soon put Google Maps back on the iPhone and iPad may be in for a long wait. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt appears to have revealed that Google has not yet submitted a Google Maps app to Apple.
Conflicting reports on Bloomberg and Reuters emerged after Schmidt spoke to journalists in Japan, with Reuters concluding that Google haven’t yet submitted an app, and Bloomberg reporting that Schmidt didn’t reveal if Google had submitted its Maps app.
"We have not done anything yet," Schmidt told the group of journalists, reports Reuters in a story entitled “Google Maps not waiting in wings for iPhone 5”.
Apple would “have to approve it. It’s their choice,” Schmidt said, declining to say if Microsoft had submitted an application to Apple for sale through its App Store, reports Bloomberg.
Schmidt revealed that he is still keen to partner with Apple, however. “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," he said.
Apple’s iOS 6 update marks its move away from Google with whom it has had a public falling out, described by Apple’s late CEO as “thermonuclear war”. Apple has ditched the apps for Google Maps and Google owned YouTube from the iOS.
Users have complained that Apple Maps is substandard and experts have claimed that Apple lacked map experts, and was using third-rate data.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu isn't overly concerned about Maps-gate. He wrote: "The good news is that Maps is software meaning the bugs are fixable and the application will get better over time. For this reason, we view this as a temporary setback. We believe for most users, the new Maps application is a significant breakthrough where the main attraction in its turn-by-turn navigation and new imaging with 3D photo-realistic views," reports Barrons.
Schmidt thinks that Apple has made a mistake ditching Google Maps, however. “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?
“What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call,” he added.
Schmidt did reveal that Apple and Google do talk “every day”, however.
Schmidt went on to praise Google’s Android operating system, which the company provides free of charge to smartphone manufacturers. Android is now on 500 million devices globally, making it the most popular mobile operating system. "Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher," Schmidt said. He complained that the media ignores Android’s success because it is “obsessed with Apple's marketing events and Apple's branding.”
Criticized by Consumer Reports
Now Consumer Reports (the US equivalent of Which), has published an article stating: “New Apple Maps navigation app for iPhone disappoints”.
Consumer Reports’ GPS navigation team has put the application through a quick evaluation, it criticizes the lack of “route preference settings, choices for avoidance preferences, exit guides, and lane assistance”, and notes that “Apple touted that Maps would include a reality view, for realistically rendered guidance at major intersections, but we did not experience it in our journey across numerous major roads and highways. Also, the information provided to the driver is sparse.”
However, Consumer Reports does praise Apple for the crowdsourcing ability of the app. “Built in is an ability for the user to report errors, although the link can be hard to find. It includes choices for: incorrect search results, direction problems, and image problems. By crowd-sourcing feedback, there is hope that corrections can be integrated in a timely fashion, as TomTom does with its portable devices.”
Apple recruiting maps experts
Apple is said to be poaching Google Maps staff to work on its own Maps, according to a TechCrunch source.
Their source claimed: “Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he’s now paid handsomely as a GIS Analyst. Another coworker that was a project lead at Google Maps, left for the East Coast after his contract ended, and was recently contacted by an Apple recruiter.”
Recent job listings also suggest that the company is actively looking for Maps talent.
Still want Google Maps on iPhone?
A hacker has managed to get Google Maps running on an iPhone running iOS 6. Though Ryan Petrich describes it as “still crashy” and not yet ready for the public, reports CultofMac. Your mobile device must be jailbroken for the hack to work.
In related news, Google has just updated eMaps, an application that gives you easy access to Google Maps. It provides street maps, satellite photos, hybrid and terrain views, as well as street-level views of locations in many countries around the world.
According to Google, new features include: new icon, new look; weather layer and weather preferences; map contextual menu to access the main features from any point on the map; improved scrolling behavior and new scroll preferences (scroll to zoom, scroll to pan; and OpenStreetMap imagery. You can download it here.
The Mac Map app begs the question: could Google make a mobile web based version of Google Maps that could be bookmarked on the iPhone and other smart devices, therefore bypassing any need for Apple’s approval.