Apple launched its new Maps app with iOS 6, removing the Google Maps app from iOS devices in the process. iPad and iPhone users blasted Apple for this decision, after it was discovered that the new mapping service was littered with inaccuracies. It got so bad that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook even posted a public apology about its new Maps, and suggested that users turn to competing mapping services, including Google’s web app.
It is widely believed that Google is working on bringing a new maps app to iOS by the end of this year, but a new report from The Guardian has cited sources who are “not optimistic” that Apple will ever approve a dedicated Google Maps iOS app.
“Though the app is reportedly in development and should be ready to ship by the end of the year, the sources say their plans are only proceeding in “the unlikely event” that Apple will choose to approve the app,” the Guardian’s report reads.
The report claims that one of the sources said that Google’s chances of getting its Maps app back onto iOS devices could increase once Scott Forstall, who was in charge of Maps at Apple, leaves the company.
Apple announced that Forstall and head of retail John Browett will be leaving the company next year, and some believe that Forstall was fired for not taking responsibility for Apple’s maps disaster.
A second source was “less than enthusiastic about any increased prospects, citing industry politics and Apple’s need to save face as much as possible and “keep moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better”, The Guardian says.
Sources at Google pointed to Apple’s ‘Find maps for your iPhone’ section on iOS, which doesn’t suggest any apps that use Google Places APIs and Google Maps tiles. The sources believe that Apple decided to leave out such apps on purpose, because they don’t want to promote Google and its “superior product”.
Not everybody is convinced by The Guardian‘s report and its sources. Casey Newton from CNET writes: “Here’s some good news for everyone – the Guardian’s sources are almost certainly wrong.”
Newton points out that “every developer who has ever published to the App Store” is worried that Apple won’t approve their app. “Fearing rejection from Apple is the default emotional state of developing for Apple devices,” he says.
He also highlights, as noted above, that Apple has actually suggested that iOS customers should use Google Maps while it improves its offering, and even offers a tutorial to demonstrate how you can go about getting access to Google Maps on your device.
Plus, if Apple does reject the Google Maps app, it could lead to public outcry, and a similar situation to the one that occurred when the Google Voice app wasn’t available in the App Store for a long period, resulting in a US Federal Communications Commission inquiry and, eventually, the app’s appearance on the App Store.