Will Apple Quash a Google Maps App? (Updated)

The new Apple-powered Maps app ushered in with iOS 6 might look awesome (the 3D view is cool), but as a mapping app it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a real step back for Apple, which is why we’ve all been hoping that Google will release a native version of Google Maps for iOS. But there are fears that Apple might get in the way of that.

Tim Cook as already apologized for Maps and we’ve seen that there will be some improvements to Maps in iOS 6.1, but that’s not enough. We want Google Maps back! However the Guardian is reporting today that Google is afraid (and rightly so) that Apple might not approve the app once it’s completed and submitted:

Sources at Google familiar with its mapping plans say they are “not optimistic” that Apple will ever approve a dedicated Google Maps iOS app. Though the app is reportedly in development and should be ready to ship by the end of the year, the sources say their plans are only proceeding in “the unlikely event” that Apple will choose to approve the app.
Via: Google sources think maps app might struggle for Apple approval | Technology | guardian.co.uk

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Where am I?

This, in my opinion, goes against the very spirt of Tim Cook’s apology. Maps is a terrible maps app. I used the Google-powered version all the time for transit directions, walking directions, and while sometimes the data were incorrect…it was right way more than it was wrong. If Apple blocks a Google Maps app (a native one, not just short cut), then I think it will only serve to create resentment against Apple’s control. What does resentment bring? A drop in loyalty and more jailbreaking.

Let’s hope that Apple a) continues to improve Maps and b) allows Google (and others) to offer real alternatives to Maps. Then maybe we can hope that Apple will let us change the default apps for common things…

I know, keep dreaming.

Update: Casey Newton just posted an article refuting The Guardian’s story (essentially calling it fear mongering, though not in those words) that Google has nothing to fear. Since Apple said they want users to use other mapping apps and Apple has already received scrutiny from the FTC about delaying Google apps from the App Store:

Totally unaddressed in the Guardian’s story is the public outcry that would result from the Google Maps app being rejected. During the long period in which the Google Voice app was not available in the App Store, Apple faced regular criticism. The Federal Communications Commission wound up launching an inquiry into the subject. Amid much scrutiny, Apple relented — and no Google-developed app has faced a significant approval delay since. Given the enormous attention the mapping issue has received, Apple could not reject Google Maps without inviting a media circus, public disdain and (likely) Congressional hearings.Via: Yes, Apple will approve Google Maps for iOS | Apple – CNET News

All rosy? I’ll wait and see when I can download a native Google Maps app…and better set it as the default (pipe dream I know).

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