Saturday, September 29, 2012

Apple begins heavy promotion of alternative Maps apps in the App Store

Now that Apple - and in fact, its CEO, Tim Cook - has admitted they screwed up on their Map app for iOS 6, Apple has begun heavily promoting alternatives in its iOS App Store.

On the home page of the App Store portion of iTunes, you can see the above image, which appears to have shown up between Friday's open letter to customers by Tim Cook and Saturday morning. It says "Find maps for your iPhone." It doesn't say iPhone 5, but iPhone 5 owners are in more desperate shape than other iPhones, as iPhone 5 owners can't stay on iOS 5 as other iPhones can. They're stuck with iOS 6, for better or - in the case of iOS 6 Maps - for worse.

Apple famously decided to dump Google Maps from its recently launched iOS 6, despite having over a year left on its licensing agreement for the product. While the company may have felt that its home-built Maps product was ready for prime-time (and it certainly advertised it that way at WWDC earlier this year), the results and feedback from end users shows that the iOS 6 Maps app was nowhere near release quality.

Not only has Apple's new Maps app birthed a meme, it has been called dangerous by the Irish Minister of Justice, after he and othes noticed that it labeled Airfield Garden, a working farm in a residential area, as an airport.

Meanwhile, it's been reported that Google was caught by surprise by the ouster of Google Maps from iOS 6. As such, the company is rapidly building a standalone app for iOS, but it's unclear how long it will take the company to complete that new version.

To be clear, users can still use Google Maps on iOS 6 by going to and creating a shortcut, then using it as a Web app. Also, however, don't think this is totally altruistic on Apple's part: Apple takes its normal cut on any paid maps apps.

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