Apple is about to take a huge risk with its mobile operating system, and nobody seems to be all that concerned about it.Various reports say that Apple will boot Google Maps off the iPhone in favour of its own homegrown flavour of maps.
Maps might be the number one most useful native application on the iPhone. At the very least, maps are tied with email, texting, and Safari.
To remove that Google Maps app, which is excellent, and replace it with Apple’s own maps is a huge risk.
If it’s an upgrade, then it’s great for users, and it’s great for Apple. The iPhone will get a leg-up on Android phones.
If it’s a disaster, however, then Apple will have made its phones worse for customers.
But Apple never makes big mistakes, right? It wouldn’t dump Google Maps unless its own solution was much better?
Uh, no. Apple actually has a bad track record with new software lately. Let’s run through it:
- Siri. A former Apple Insider said it was embarrassing to people at Apple. A lot of users hate it. It’s had downtime, and it’s not all that great.
- iMessage–Apple’s texting-killer. Very wonky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Considering how crucial texting is, this is a big problem.
- iCloud. Apple’s automatic storage system iCloud seems to work fine enough, but it’s not exactly blowing the doors off.
- iTunes Match. Mixed bag! We think it’s OK, but even ardent Apple fans like Dan Frommer of SplatF have complained about it, saying, “I tried using iTunes Match on [my iPhone 4S], but it was a disaster.”
- Ping. This was the social network attached to iTunes. It’s not a terrible idea, as Spotify has proven that social music is something people are interested in. But Apple blew it, and Tim Cook recently hinted that he might kill it.
We could go on. There are plenty of questionable software applications from Apple. Not to mention the fact that most of the pre-loaded applications on the iPhone suck compared to what independent developers make.
That’s not to say everything Apple rolls out is crappy. The notification centre was well done. The Game centre seems to be decent. And the OS overall is second to none.
Our point is that Apple, as good as it is, is not perfect. And if it thinks it can roll out a brand new mapping application and have it be as buggy as iMessage or Siri and not annoy iPhone users, it’s wrong.
Apple has to absolutely nail its new Maps app. There is no middle ground here. It has to be perfect. Not good, not good enough, but perfect.
If this is another Siri, or iMessage, it could be a significant blow.
Google knows how to do maps. If Apple screws up a core app, it gives Android a chance to win over users.