That explains it.
The story so far: back in June, Apple announced iOS 6, in an event that seemed tailored to send Google a message. iOS 6 would provide tighter integration with Facebook, further burying Google+. It would also give Siri additional powers, paving the way for it to become Apple’s own search engine. And, of course, the pièce de résistance: Apple Maps, that would replace Google Maps as the default mapping solution in iOS, would come packed with goodies like turn-by-turn navigation, Siri integration and some other thingamajigs that probably do very little to improve the actual location and navigation experience (*COUGH* 3D Maps).
After a summer of high expectations, iOS 6 is finally available for mere mortals. And the news are not good – Apple Maps experience is subpar. Entire areas that were neatly mapped in Google Maps now show up blank. The map metadata is weak, with hilariously incorrect place markers, missing information and a number of issues that are just plain weird.
Our two readers (hello mom! hi dad!) will surely remember a recent post about Apple’s attempts (and failures) to out-google Google. Well, yes, this is more of the same thing, but definitely in another league. Remember: Google is widely criticized for the perpetual beta, for launching half-baked, unproven products, and slow-cooking them for years. Apple, on the other hand, is praised for its perfectionism, for refusing to bring unfinished products to market.
Now choose how you want to think about Apple’s actions. This could be a case of Hubris bringing Nemesis. Apple thought beating Google in its own turf would be a piece of cake and just went through with it, and is now facing the consequences of its folly.
Or this could have been the moment in which Apple became humble. Maps, Siri – these are products that cannot be perfected behind locked doors by a select few. They require incredible amounts of real, live usage data to be improved, and that’s what Google has been doing for many years. Apple had no option but to do the same: launching a half-baked product, optimizing the hell out of it and hoping for the best.
To beat Google, become Google, Apple must have thought. Now this has *really* become a Jean-Claude Van Damme feature film.