The best thing you’ll read about Apple’s Maps “fiasco”

Fri, Oct 19, 2012


The entire Maps “fiasco”, in my opinion, was overblown. The sky didn’t fall, the iPhone didn’t explode, and people didn’t return Apple’s 6th gen smartphone en masse. Quite the contrary, folks were snatching them up faster than Apple could make them.

Of all the millions of words that have undoubtedly been written about Apple’s Maps application, this following FAQ from Kontra really hits the nail on the head.

Q: Then why did Apple kick Google Maps off the iOS platform? Wouldn’t Apple have been better off offering Google Maps even while it was building its own map app? Shouldn’t Apple have waited?

A: Waited for what? For Google to strengthen its chokehold on a key iOS service? Apple has recognized the significance of mobile mapping and acquired several mapping companies, IP assets and talent in the last few years. Mapping is indeed one of the hardest of mobile services, involving physical terrestrial and aerial surveying, data acquisition, correction, tile making and layer upon layer of contextual info married to underlying data, all optimized to serve often under trying network conditions. Unfortunately, like dialect recognition or speech synthesis (think Siri), mapping is one of those technologies that can’t be fully incubated in a lab for a few years and unleashed on several hundred million users in more than a 100 countries in a “mature” state. Thousands of reports from individuals around the world, for example, have helped Google correct countless mapping failures over the last half decade. Without this public exposure and help in the field, a mobile mapping solution like Apple’s stands no chance.

There’s a whole lot more in the full FAQ which you should definitely read in its entirety over here.

The bottom line is, again, that Mapping is hard. Eventually Apple was going to part ways with Google and no matter when that time would come, growing pains were inevitable.


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