Apple Dropped Google Maps Over Lack of Voice Turn-By-Turn Feature

Apple has been taking in crucial heat from the media lately over their new iOS 6 Maps application. The only issue regarding the application is a few misplaced streets and the lack of detail in certain areas. What we all forgot was that iOS 6 Maps was supposed to be looked at as an upgrade. We now have 3D mode and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions.

A source familiar with the situation told AllThingsD that there were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest.” Multiple sources even verified to AllThingsD specifically that voice navigation was the overall deal breaker for the Cupertino company.

Here is a bit of background on the voice navigation feature of Google Maps:

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.

Google reportedly wanted to add more branding to the iOS maps application, but Apple declined. Google even wanted to add their popular ‘Google Latitude’ feature to maps; Apple denied once again. Whether this contributed into Google’s voice navigation decision is unknown, but it makes sense that they keep this feature out of competing devices.

Without a doubt Google will be working on a Google Maps application for iOS. Apple reported 100 million iOS devices had updated to iOS 6 as of Monday; also meaning Google had lost an equivalent amount of users. A majority of these were probably active as they updated their device within a week’s time.

If you really put thought into it; Apple switching to their own in-house mapping system makes sense. Voice navigation was a huge asset that all us iOS users have missed out on for years. Better yet, I know Apple can scrape away all the scuffs on their Maps application over time.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Smartmann

    It WOULD make sense if it was proper. My street name is spelled incorrectly and in the middle of a row of houses when viewed in hybrid mode (iPhone 4…. I don’t benefit whatsoever from their jump). They should have left iPhone 4 users keep google maps.. I don’t get it, we don’t get any of the good features anyway.

  • Mark Morissette

    A FEW misplaced streets? All the apologists who don’t think maps is a debacle are clearly those who did not rely on Google Maps for many hours each and every day for work. In the last 3 days at work it’s told me a bridge didn’t exist (and tried to route me 20 minutes around it another way), it told me a city was 400 Kilometers west of it’s actual location, and refused to find countless streets that appear unsearchable yet are actually on the map if you zoom into the general area and use the “drop a pin” feature, at which point it’ll happily lead you there. And this is just a small handful of the more notable situations where it proved useless.

    I’ve given up on it and started using Waze instead until they get it fixed…..or Google gets a Maps app back in the Appstore.

  • ward09

    Google Maps had my street name wrong for about six years, and only just got around to fixing it about a year ago.

  • RyanStOnge

    Sorry if you misunderstand my term ‘few.’ Many cities are error-free. When your talking a ‘few’ that could mean thousands when millions of streets are involved.

  • FragilityG4

    Google maps still doesn’t have my house on it … iOS maps do.

  • aRhyno

    its a tough one, google maps is 7 years old. ios maps, 1 week. if people know its not 100% functional, they will use google maps, how will ios maps ever get its maturity level. its going to be a rough start, but i believe they will make a decent maps app over time, maybe never as good as google maps, but im sure it will be decent enough to use. i too want google maps back, i used street view many times to familiarize myself with an area before going to unknown areas. it was great.

  • RyanStOnge

    Exactly. It just takes time, that’s what the users are for, to report issues.

  • nosnoop

    Takes time?
    Things like Street View may NEVER happen on iOS Maps.

    I have better hope waiting for Google Maps to appear on iOS 6 than iOS maps to catch up.

  • definingsound

    +1 for Waze. Great software. Suffers at least as many limitations as iOS 6 Maps, but I love the social functionality. Warning – Waze uses battery quite heavily, app is best used while charging in the car.

    Why are the sheep in the flock upgrading to iOS 6, if they rely on Google Maps? Release notes, people. Read them. I’m still on iOS 5.0, call me Luddite.

  • KosmoBo

    Have you reported the problems you mentioned? This is the way to have the maps fixed!

    Google Maps have plenty of errors as well, but it depends on where you are, of course. For example: There is a crescent in my neighbourhood, which Google Maps shows that it intersects with another street (but it doesn’t) and during rush hour you can see people that are trying to avoid the traffic through this “intersection”. The new iOS maps show this correctly as crescent.

    Another example: A friend of mine who travels a lot refuses to use Google Maps north of Georgian Bay (in Ontario). He told me several times that Google Maps are unusable there. And I’m sure that thre are plenty of other examples, but nothing is perfect.