Recent reports claim that Apple ended its iOS mobile maps contract with Google a year early. But the result, Apple's home-brewed Maps app, has left many users wishing the two companies had stayed on good terms.
Sure, Maps comes with new features that weren't available on the Google-made version for iOS, such as spoken navigation directions and 3D views of cities. But Apple's new Maps app has become infamous for its quirks (misnaming cities and countries, moving famous landmarks, distorting landmasses and manmade structures in 3D mode) and its lack of integrated public transit directions.
Why would Apple do something like this? To answer this question, we've combed the wisdom of some of the web's top Apple watchers. Flip though our gallery (below) to view opinions from the New York Times, AllThingsD, Daring Fireball, Slate and The Verge. Then, read on to view our gallery of the worst fails spotted in Apple's Maps app.
What do you think of Apple Maps? Has it made you late or gotten you lost? Do you have horror stories to share? Or rave reviews? Let us know: email us at email@example.com or tweet @HuffPostTech.
Chris Ziegler of The Verge recently reported that Apple pulled out of its contract with Google over a year early, which would explain why Google didn't have a standalone maps app ready to go when iOS 6 launched without Google Maps. Ziegler posits that Google Maps for Android had advanced too far ahead of the iOS version of Google Maps -- and Apple wasn't pleased. "Apple apparently felt that the older Google Maps-powered Maps in iOS were falling behind Android — particularly since they didn't have access to turn-by-turn navigation, which Google has shipped on Android phones for several years," he writes.
AllThingsD's John Paczkowski points to Google's unwillingness to share its spoken turn-by-turn navigation data as the source of the eventual break between Google and Apple on maps in iOS.
Well-sourced Apple enthusiast John Gruber speculates that Apple may have given itself the upper hand by terminating is partnership with Google a year early (instead of waiting until mid-2013 for it to expire). "Apple wasn’t going to wait to negotiate until their backs were to the wall with the currently-shipping version of iOS reliant on Google Maps when the old deal expired," Gruber argues. It was in Apple's best interest, he writes, to release its own Maps app with a major iOS release, rather than waiting for the Google contract to expire while a new iOS release was still being prepped. Sure, Apple's Maps are being lampooned across the web; but at least Apple got what it wanted when it wanted it. Right? ...Right?
Slate's Matthew Yglesias argues that Apple dropped Google Maps in the hopes that Apple could one day offer a superior (and native) mapping service in iOS. For now, Apple is relying on its brand power to carry it through the rocky launch of its sub-par Maps app. With a little bit of luck, the company's loyal customer base will stick around long enough until Apple improves ist Maps. "[W]hat they [Apple] achieve by ending the relationship [with Google] early is a chance to some day—hopefully soon—have the very best maps experience in the world," writes Yglesias. "Under iOS 5 they didn't have that, and as long as Apple depended on Google they were never going to have it."
Although critics and users have panned the glitches in Maps' interactive Flyover feature, the 3D bird's-eye view option has also been called "stunning" and "lovely" (when it works properly). The New York Times suggests that, although Google has a years-long head start on mapping applications, the company has a lot of work to do before it can offer a 3D mapping option similar to what's available on Apple's mobile Maps app. From the Times: "Google has 3-D images in Google Earth, which is a separate app with a separate code base from Google Maps, so it would take some time to combine the two." It seems that Google's facing a steep, rocky road as it rolls toward it release of its Google Maps iOS app, which the Times predicts will be ready at he end of 2012.