Just how bad is the iOS 6 Maps debacle going to get for Apple? Its new software is the butt of jokes on the London Underground, rivals are seizing the opportunity to promote their own mapping services, and Google is stirring things up with speculation about its plans for a standalone iOS Google Maps app.
It’s fair to say that Maps is providing Apple with its most-sustained backlash since the infamous iPhone 4 ‘antennagate’ affair. So much so, that the company has responded publicly to the criticism of its new Maps app.
“We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it,” spokesperson Trudy Muller tells All Things Digital.
“We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
Demand for a standalone version of Google Maps, which was replaced by Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6, is growing. Google is playing its cards close to its chest publicly, merely reminding journalists that it wants to be on all devices, and has a mobile web version available through iOS’ Safari browser.
Behind the scenes, however, the company appears to be briefing on its plans. The Guardian claims “Google is preparing a Google Maps app for iOS6, which will appear in time,” while TechCrunch says Google is “doubling down on staff, lining up the team and resources to have a standalone iOS app in the App store ‘before Christmas’.”
9 to 5 Mac goes further, suggesting that “an updated iOS 6 version of the Google Maps.app has been submitted to Apple. It is awaiting approval, however, and that could take some time”. However, well-connected blog The Loop flatly refutes that suggestion.
It’s safe to say that if Apple Maps feels like a hot topic now, that’s nothing compared to the likely storm if it wilfully delays or rejects Google’s standalone app.