Google Maps’ re-entry in Apple’s iOS underscores Apple’s failure in the mapping area
The re-introduction of the Google Maps app in Apple’s iOS comes as a final death knell for Apple’s mapping service. Google Maps used to come in-built with previous versions of iOS, but Apple decided it wanted to distance itself from Google and so replaced Google Maps with its own maps app. The backlash against this move was immense—Apple Maps was nowhere as comprehensive as Google Maps and often showed incorrect directions. The embarrassment to the company was such that Apple CEO Tim Cook had to apologise publicly for the error, and recommended the use of other mapping apps while Apple Maps was fixed. During that time, the Google Maps app was not available on Apple’s app store—users could access it only by going to the Google Maps website. Yet, more people chose this inconvenience over using Apple Maps.
The fact that Apple has decided to allow the Google Maps app back means that even less people will now use Apple Maps. But the fact of the matter is that Apple’s foray into mapping services was flawed to begin with. Google has a tremendous head-start in mapping. It has not only been in this space longer, it has mobilised its resources highly effectively—camera-mounted, GPS-enabled cars, cycles and even individuals collect data on a daily basis, not to mention its satellite systems. Apple chose the wrong area to take Google on in. It would do well now to simply concentrate instead on what has consistently been making it money—its hardware.