Who knew a map app could trigger so much brouhaha?
Apple removed the popular Google Maps from its iOS 6 mobile operating system released earlier this month and substituted its own map app. Apple's Maps, while containing some gee-whiz features such as voice-guided navigation and a 3-D Flyover feature, has been panned widely for its woefully incomplete maps and missing information.
On Friday, Apple
The amount of backlash attests to the importance of a dependable map app in a smartphone, a mobile device whose value depends on its ability to get things done while its owners are on the move. Google confirmed that it is working on a replacement for its iPhone app, and advises iPhone users in the meantime to use the browser to access its maps. One touch easily adds maps.google.com on the phone screen, and it works well enough, though it lacks voice navigation.
And other map developers -- who have long felt ignored by the virtual duopoly of Apple and Google -- now see a tiny crack in which they can try to win a bit of mindshare from disillusioned-by-Apple Maps fans willing to try something new.
"This market has gotten crowded recently. There are sort of these openings that come up," says Vijay Bangaru, vice president of product for Mapquest.
In his note to customers, Cook even suggested that customers turn to alternative maps service -- including Google, Bing, Waze and Mapquest.