Ever since Apple dropped Google’s data for its own with the introduction of its new iOS Maps app last September, the company has had to cope with the public’s perception that the new app was much less than satisfactory. This even went so far as to cause Apple to release an apology, and would eventually cause two high-ranking Apple employees to lose their jobs, including the iOS VP.
Public perception of a product generally comes from bad word-of-mouth, as users’ forums begin to fill up with stories and examples of how the product has failed, and such stories and examples eventually make it to the Internet. Apple’s Maps app qualifies for receiving bad word-of-mouth; another good example is Windows Vista. While Microsoft’s new operating system, released in early 2007, did suffer from serious shortcomings and issues–the biggest of this perhaps being that is failed to deliver the superior performance for most users that its ad campaign promised–the public’s perception toward it had become so negative that it was doomed within months.
There are individuals who support the iOS app and claim that it works just fine for them. And let’s be fair here, it was always Apple’s app, just Google’s data, before Apple substituted its own flawed science in the troubled application–the release of Google’s own iOS Maps app last Thursday has many of the features Apple reportedly wanted to include in its own version. And if you are to believe The Loop reader Keith Huss’ hypothesis (posted on MacRumors.com), Apple wins in the end after all:
Situation: Apple cannot get Google to update its maps app on iOS. It was ok, but Google refused to update it to include turn-by-turn directions or voice guidance even though Android had these features forever. Apple says, “Enough” and boots Gmaps from iOS and replaces it with an admittedly half-baked replacement. The world groans. Apple has egg on its face. Google steps up it’s game and rolls out a new, free new maps app in iOS today that is totally amazing, I’m sure to stick it in Apple’s face… Ooops.
Bottom line: Apple took one for the team (ate some ****) and fooled Google into doing exactly what Apple has been asking for years. Users win.
Finally: all you need to know about Apple’s Maps reputation and history is that it took less than 48 hours for 10 million users to download Google’s Maps app from Apple’s iOS App Store. Guess there must have been something wrong with Apple’s app after all.
Or, at least, that’s the way the public perceived it.