Hate to Say ‘I Told You So’, Where by ‘Hate’ I Mean ‘Draw Great Satisfaction From’

Yours truly, back in May:

Here’s the thing. Apple’s homegrown mapping data has to be great.

Mapping is an essential phone feature. It’s one of those few features that almost everyone with an iPhone uses, and often relies upon. That’s why Apple has to do their own — they need to control essential technology. I suspect Apple would be pushing to do their own maps even if their relationship with Google were still hunky-dory, as it was circa 2007. (Remember Eric Schmidt coming on stage during the iPhone introduction?) But as things actually stand today between Apple and Google, relying on Google for mapping services is simply untenable.

This is a high-pressure switch for Apple. Regressions will not be acceptable. The purported whiz-bang 3D view stuff might be great, but users are going to have pitchforks and torches in hand if practical stuff like driving and walking directions are less accurate than they were with Google’s data. Keep in mind too, that Android phones ship with turn-by-turn navigation.

(Via Raging Thunderbolt.) While I’m at it, some Twitter feedback today suggests I haven’t made it clear who I think is at fault. I thought it was obvious: this whole thing is entirely Apple’s fault. I don’t blame Google for withholding turn-by-turn, voice navigation, and vector map tiles from Apple. Google negotiated in their own interests. Nor do I blame Apple for breaking away. Like I wrote, the situation was untenable.

It was Apple that decided to put all its mapping eggs in Google’s basket in 2007, and what Apple did after breaking away from Google was entirely up to them. They came up short. (Although likewise, it’s nobody but Google’s fault that they don’t have a standalone Google Maps app ready to go in the App Store.)

Friday, 28 September 2012