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.