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Meanwhile Apple is reportedly trying desperately to woo Google Maps engineers

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) made a bold gamble deciding to kick Google Inc.'s (GOOG) highly functional Google Maps app off its i-devices with iOS 6, in lieu of its own homegrown alternative.  The move was perhaps foreshadowed by Apple's long-standing refusal to allow Google Maps the hardware API access necessary to do turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone.

I. Apple Maps Woes Mar iPhone 5 Experience

Early builds of the iOS 6 Apple Maps were full of flaws.  And while principle partner TomTom N.V. (AMS:TOM2) -- who Apple gets most of its mapping database from -- promised to help fix the flaws, it looks like the version that launched with Apple iPhone 5 is still mediocre at best and a nightmarish mess at worst.  

Cities were misplaced or worse yet wound up in the ocean. Requests for directions in major cities (e.g. New York City) were met with cryptic addresses.  To sum up the prevailing sentiment InfoWorld mobile analyst Galen Gruman writes, "For the short term, I recommend you not use Apple Maps."

Apple iOS 6 Maps
Apple Maps have some issues. [Image Source: Apple]

II. Scorned Google Chimes In

Google, whose Android operating system Apple has called a "copycat" and whose partners have been sued for not "innovating" enough, was quick to pounce on these reports.

The official Google+ account of Google's phonemaking subsidiary Motorola Mobility posted a picture mocking Apple Maps as "iLost" and plugging Android's alternative:

iLost
[Image Source: Google+/Motorola Mobility]

The situation isn't looking pretty for Apple Maps.  True, Apple owners can rest easy in knowing that Tim Cook and company (partially) drove the big bad Google off their prized i-Devices, but it is appearing a very Pyrrhic victory.  

III.  Apple is Recruiting ex-Google Maps Devs

According to TechCrunch, the dire situation has prompted Apple to begin trying to poach Google Maps engineers.  The report quotes a source as saying:

Many of my coworkers at Google Maps eventually left when their contracts ended or on their own accord. One guy looked around for other GIS work and ended up at Apple when a recruiter contacted him. He had heard rumors for a while that Apple was going to develop its own in-house mapping platform, and given his experience at Google, he was an easy hire. Apple went out of their way to bring him down to Cupertino and he’s now paid handsomly 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. The position sounds like a product development manager position, and will pay him $85k+ and all the moving expenses from the East Coast. He’s gone through 2 rounds of interview and seems like a frontrunner to land that position.

Still, even as Apple moves a bit closer to keeping up with the Androids in terms of screen size and cellular modem technology, it's fallen farther behind on the Maps front -- a critical piece of functionality to today's Swiss Army Knife-esque smartphones.  


George Takei/Facebook

One has to wonder whether the Maps mess will take a bit of the luster off the otherwise polished product.  Early sales, however, have been unaffected as Apple's faithful fans helped it move 5 million units over the launch weekend.

Sources: Google+ [Motorola], TechCrunch, InfoWorld, CNN



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Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By aliasfox on 9/24/2012 2:28:18 PM , Rating: 3
Disclaimer: I'm a Mac and iPhone 4 user, running iOS 5

A coworker brought in her new iPhone5, and I got a chance to play around with the maps app this morning. We're in NYC, so we flew around 3D Manhattan for a couple of minutes, and for lack of a better word, it's impressive. The 3D rendering and speed of maps in the few minutes we played on it was very nice.

That said, I'd give it at least until iOS 6.1 before I trust it domestically and iOS 7 before I trust it enough to consider not having a backup maps app on the phone. Apple knows it has to get Maps fixed ASAP, but it's 6-7 years behind Google. Would be really nice if Apple threw a couple of its $120 billion dollars at this and made it at least as good as Google within 12 months - people will be willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt for a little while (knowing that it's a brand new release), but they're not going to wait forever.

For now, I'm sticking with iOS 5. Given I'm on an iPhone 4, I see no reason to lose my accuracy and not even get the eye-candy consolation prize.




RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By kilkennycat on 9/24/2012 3:53:02 PM , Rating: 5
My son has a iphone5 and has done some controlled data-usage experiments in the iMaps 3D mode. 3 minutes travelling at skyscraper height from the Manhatten Financial district to Central Park consumed 80MByte of data (ouch!). One of the (er) benefits of LTE is the rapid consumption of data in minimal time. He has a tested minimum download speed of ~4.5 MBytes/sec. I am waiting for the wails from iPhone5 users on LTE with limited-data plans and usury overage costs. iPhone5/LTE users had better be vary careful about what they choose to download. At that download rate an accidental selection when in wireless mode could be very costly. The very fastiPhone5 CPU also further aggravates the ease of consumption of real-time data.

Btw, the 3D mode is practically useless to any except helicopter pilots and thieves. My son has a top-floor apartment in a 6-story building in downtown Portland, Oregon. He was able to zoom in on the apartment in 3D iMaps and view the inside of much of the apartment, great for thieves assessing the layout and potential contents - very impressive technically, but as much an invasion of privacy as Google Streetview. The EU/Germans will probably have something to say about privacy and iMaps 3d. Hope Apple has got all its AI-blurring algorithms ready to go. Google has done a really neat job of this in Streetview.

And Apple will never have Streetview anyway. a whole lot of patent grief no doubt if they try, regardless of the cost. A vast investment with no financial incentive for them. Apple should stick totally to what they do best - useful hardware and UI implementations. Leave all apps not vital to Apple's core business to third-parties. Mapping as implemented by Google is a multi-billion$$ investment tightly-coupled to Google Search... another oversight by Apple in their egotistic implementation of iMaps. Try using iMaps Search to look for businesses in a particular area.


RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By Tony Swash on 9/25/2012 6:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Apple will never have Streetview anyway.


You can get an app for less than a buck for the iPhone and iPad that works in all versions of iOS including V6 called 'Live Street View' that implements Google street view on iOS in a much better way than the Google Maps did.

There is also a free version.

It is the App store

http://itunes.com/apps/livestreetview


RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By momorere on 9/25/2012 7:30:01 AM , Rating: 2
I have some REALLY good links that I am holding onto until the next crApple article. It is nice to know that EVERYONE is getting tired of crApple's shenanigans. You'll just have to wait until then to see. I'm sure you will start preparing your defense and invalidating them now.

http://allthingsd.com/20120923/while-apples-maps-f...

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Apple-iOS6-Maps-A...


RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By Tony Swash on 9/25/2012 8:57:40 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It is nice to know that EVERYONE is getting tired of crApple's shenanigans.


I guess these people didn't get your memo

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-220...

or the people waiting for these

http://www.cultofmac.com/192038/look-at-all-these-...

You keep talking Apple down. Reality intrudes. Apple keeps getting bigger. What a bummer that must be for you :)


By momorere on 9/25/2012 10:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
You are the master of posting pro-crApple links. I am willing to bet every single thing I have that you have NEVER read any anti/negative crApple article that anyone has posted. Instead of reading them you instantly turn on your RDF (reality distortion field) to maximum power.

I just know that you won't read my said articles but I shall post them anyways to let others know that change is on it's way.

Hint: articles deal with prior art & patents. Letting you know so you can be prepared to deny/invalidate as we all know you will.


RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By Uncle on 9/25/2012 4:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
"Early sales, however, have been unaffected as Apple's faithful fans helped it move 5 million units over the launch weekend."
Its an ilie numbers game.
"expected to be a record rollout for its latest line of iPhone handsets." apple is playing the Numbers game called the ilie. The ilie is based on the amount of people in a geographic location on opening day sale. iphone 3 opening sales based on 5 countries. iphone 4 to 4s opening day sales based on 7 countries. iphone 5 opening sales based on 9 countries. If apple didn't add new countries on opening day sales, their sales actually declined.


RE: Lots of sizzle, we'll see about the steak
By Tony Swash on 9/25/2012 6:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If apple didn't add new countries on opening day sales, their sales actually declined.


What color is the sky in your world?


By Uncle on 9/26/2012 1:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
If all you read is dailytech,excellent read, I can understand your still into coloring books. I tried to put a link but told no spam allowed.sorry.


By elleehswon on 9/25/2012 8:04:43 AM , Rating: 3
but why would you buy a product to use a free service google provides if apple makes the best everything ever?


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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