The controversial launch of Apple’s new Maps on iOS 6 has been at the forefront of news this week, with additional information emerging from AllThingsD today about the reasoning behind Apple ditching Google Maps in favor of its own in-house mapping solution. According to the report, Apple split up with Google because the two companies had differing views towards voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation on iOS devices.
Spoken turn-by-turn navigation has been a free service offered through Google’s Android mobile OS for a few years now. But it was never part of the deal that brought Google’s Maps to iOS. And sources say Apple very much wanted it to be. Requiring iPhone users to look directly at handsets for directions and manually move through each step — while Android users enjoyed native voice-guided instructions — put Apple at a clear disadvantage in the mobile space. And having chosen Google as its original mapping partner, the iPhone maker was now in a position where an archrival was calling the shots on functionality important to the iOS maps feature set.
Essentially, Google was calling the shots with regards to spoken turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, giving its Android operating system a clear advantage in the mobile industry. Evidently, Apple was displeased about this situation enough to break its ties with Google Maps entirely and transition towards its own mapping service.
Apple and Google have emerged as bitter rivals in the past few years anyways, so this move is hardly surprising. Apple opted not to renew its licensing agreement with Google to provide a native YouTube app on iOS devices, meaning that iOS 6 users must download YouTube from the App Store instead. Let’s just hope that Apple can improve its Maps app in a timely manner.