I won’t go so far as to say that I’d be lost without the ability to instantly get accurate maps on my smartphone – I am a geographer, after all – but I will say that it sure can make traveling easier. It certainly did for me last week, when I drove up to Washington, DC for a job interview and to visit family and friends. Being able to pull up an accurate, location-aware map – no matter where I was – certainly reduced my overall level of stress.
So when I read that Apple had shut Google Maps out of the iOS6 operating system, I silently thanked the universe that I have an Android instead:
After kicking Google Maps off its new mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 6, Apple is receiving massive backlash from users around the globe, who report that Apple’s replacement maps, “Apple Maps,” are riddled with strange glitches, inaccurate direction and location data, and fall short of Google Maps.
Accuracy is by far the most important feature of a map. Yes, it’s a form of communication that can be quite rich in meaning, but smartphone maps are more utilitarian in nature. People need very specific information from a smartphone map, and if you insist on displacing the industry leader because they happen to be an industry rival of yours, well, you’d better make sure you can deliver a comparable experience first.
It seems Apple didn’t do this, which sucks for their users. Here’s hoping they find their way out of this mess – but I’d recommend using Google Maps to do it.