iOS6 iPhone users, rejoice! Back in September Apple dropped Google Maps as the default mapping and navigation app when it released iO6, instead replacing it with an in-house mapping app. After months of speculation and anxious waiting, Google Maps for iPhone and iPod Touch has been released (unfortunately, a larger version for iPad users is not yet available).
The announcement of the release was made late on 12/12/12 (could Google have picked a more memorable date?) on Google’s Official Blog with a post by Daniel Graf, the Director of Google Maps for Mobile:
At the heart of this app is our constantly improving map of the world that includes detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest. Preview where you want to go with Street View and see inside places with Business Photos to decide on a table or see if it’s better at the bar. To get you there, you’ve got voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic conditions to avoid the jams and if you want to use public transportation, find information for more than one million public transit stops.
The new app comes with a neat trick: if you see something wrong on the new app for Google Maps, shake the phone to send Google a feedback report.
Not surprisingly, the new app has already claimed the #1 spot on Apple’s App Store.
It will be interesting to see how and if Apple can recover from its Maps App debacle. The marred release of Apple’s in-house mapping technology has been so bad that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook issued a rare apology saying, “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.” Richard Williamson, the product manager for Apple’s Maps was fired in November over the quality issues surrounding the app.
The latest embarrassment for Apple was over a warning issued by Victoria Police in Australia over drivers being stranded for up to 24 hours in Murray-Sunset National Park, a semi-arid area where temperatures can reach 115 degrees F after following faulty directions provided by Apple’s Maps App. Those drivers were directed to the area instead of Mildura, a location 70 miles away. The press release issued by Victoria Police ends with, “Anyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified.”
The Onion spoofed Apple’s geographic data issues with a fake news segment where the newscaster announced, “Apple has responded to continued frustration with its iPhone maps application, announcing plans to realign the earth’s geography to more accuracy reflect the maps software.”