Creating Apple Maps - most important decision

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by StoneJack, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. StoneJack, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    StoneJack macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    Any company, and especially Apple, has to make sure that its ecosystem is healthy, thriving and does not depend on hidden interests of collaborators and, of course, competitors.

    In this regard, the strategic move to own Maps software is a brilliant move, timed well and its repercussions will be felt for years to come - and in good way for Apple.

    In order to understand the logic behind the Apple's move, history will be a good reminder.

    In desktop, before 2000 Apple had to rely on 3 pillars to provide the ecosystem for its users:

    Business software - dominated by Office, Microsoft.
    Graphics and imaging: dominated by Adobe (Pagemaker, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier)
    Browsers and internet software: Netscape, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express (1998), Entourage (2001).

    By beginning of 2000, all three pillars really began to stagnate. Mac users were treated as second class citizen not only by MS, but also by Adobe who didn't bother to upgrade its graphic software even as Mac platform was moving to OS X. Internet Explorer was a slowest browser around. MS office for mac for incompatible in many ways with Windows version, always lagged behind and sometimes lacked important features. Despite Apple's urging, the software houses of MS, Adobe didn't really wanted to move to new OS X platform and all attention was on Windows software only. In order to provide its users with first class software, Apple had no other way but to begin creating software itself for its users:

    Safari: now arguably one of best browsers on desktop, best mobile browser
    Apple Mail: great mail software package, constantly evolving
    Pages: one of best word processor/DTP packages
    iTunes: one hell of online Store/music management/app management/iOS device management programs. Now moving to cloud.
    Keynote: most beautiful presentations on desktop and mobile
    Final Cut Pro: preferred tool for movie editing
    iPhoto: you don't need Photoshop for most of picture editing
    Garageband: record, edit and write digital music.

    These applications provided not only first class software experience, but also ensured stability of the platform, further guarantees of growth and stimulated appearance and improvement of rival software houses, all enrinching Apple ecosystem as a result. HOwever, when each of these programs launched, they always were, well, version 1.0. Safari was slow (still the question: is Safari snappier?, Apple Mail was not up to Entourage, Pages hadn't as many functions as Word, etc.). However, in 2 or 3 iterations the software reached the rival's standards and in many cases are themselves became examples of excellent and innovative software (reader, reading lists for Safari, wonderful graphics of Keynote, etc).

    Now in mobile: this new ecosystem which was launched just few years ago, Apple had many fields covered already: it had now a best mobile browser (imagine if we had to rely on Microsoft Explorer for iOS browsing - yikes!), Apple Mail (no need for Outlook), Garageband and whole Office system: Pages, Keynote and Numbers. However, mobile brought new challenges: maps (because of mobility), turn-by-turn directions, mobile search and new software needs because of the transition to smartphones and tablets.

    The latter was taken care by genius of Apple: creating first great AppStore, better than anything existed before, which gave iOS users thousands of new functions available on their iOS devices, beginning from imaging and games to finances, cooking and whatever needs are.

    Mobile search is taken care by Siri, AI assistant. Its much more capable than simple search, but its truly mobile, always on device, constantly evolving. Only now Siri is out of beta stage, but its future looks bright.

    Maps: the crucial location software belongs to Google, a company well known for stealing and selling privacy to advertisers, caught in multiple places by law authorities, company which was fined for intentional theft of private browsing information even when users wanted privacy. Similar to MS and Adobe decade ago, Google was not providing best experience to iOS users though its was getting most of information from iOS users, sometimes illegally. With further development of mobile platform, it was crucial that this vulnerability is closed, addressed properly and that iOS users have best mapping software in the world.

    Enter Apple Maps. Yes, its database is not perfect. So are databases of many GPS and mapping softwares like it, which cost higher. But the advantages of its are there: its 3D approach, turn by turn directions, its built in reporting and error-fixing possibilities, which essentially make Apple Maps a Wiki-like software, with endless possibilities for improvement. For my home town, Apple Maps lacked some information, so this morning I spent few minutes submitting what I thought, most important information for my city to Apple for upgrading the city information. I have no doubts that in next 2 iterations it will become a software far superior to Google provided that updates are fed into main database quickly and I have no grounds to doubt that based on what I hear about locked-up Apple Maps team at Apple campus :). Building in such easy to use error-fixing instruments into Apple Maps is a brilliant idea. It makes it essentially an open submission software, similar to podcasts which ended up making Apple the place for podcasts, a favourite place for indie musicians and a place where you can find best apps in the world. And it will make Apple the place for maps and tagged geophysical information, all open to all users and most up to date. Because I have no doubts that Apple Maps will also be available for desktop users in browsers as well. It is important for Apple to provide easy tools for submission and integration of public transit information and an easy iOS standard for public transit information.

    In a cycle, I am sure we won't recognize Apple Maps. It takes time and effort. But certainly, Safari now is one of snappiest AND most sophisticated browsers in the world.:)
  2. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
  3. StoneJack thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    I also would like to address a pretty much discussed point whether or not Steve Jobs would have allowed it.

    Well, he was the person who released OS X 10.0, which had no graphic acceleration as to speak of, slow as molasses and full of stripes. He was the one released Safari, which created the famous if its snappier line. He was the one who released iPhone in 2007 when it had almost no applications and which didn't have 3G, a feature which my Sony Ericsson had for years before that.

    But he was right and SJ, I am sure, would release Apple Maps even earlier. After all, what's so difficult in spending few minutes updating your business information or street addresses you use in the new app, while we had years of using Microsoft Office 2001 in Classic or had to wait for OS X native Photoshop for 2 years?

    If we all update our information in the Maps, then we'll all have best Maps software in the world just in few weeks because it will be most up-to-date, turn by turn, 3D flyover and it will have most correct information :)

    Steve Jobs would do exactly that.
  4. cyks macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    When OSX debuted, we were not only allowed, but somewhat encouraged to continue using OS9 and Classic apps. When Safari was released, we still had the choice (and continue to) of making whichever browser we want as our default.

    Did Apple need to (eventually) make their own maps? Absolutely, but they didn't have to force us into being it's guinea pigs and beta testers.

    Changes in a few weeks? People have been complaining about the severe problems since iOS 6 beta was first released. That was months ago and the MAJOR problems that were mentioned then are still present. I'll be lucky if they acknowledge and move my address to it's proper place within a year.... and even then, without foot paths or a lot more detail, a bunch of my 3rd party apps (thanks to Apple's Map Kit) are now severely crippled.

    I don't want or need turn by turn navigation. I need maps that actually work.
  5. StoneJack thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    Yes, this is true. In many cases there was a fall-back plan, such as Classic, parallel support of PowerPC, and so on. I have installed in my iPad a number of GPS and Map programs: Motion X has very high ratings, I also looked into Mapquest. I think we do have a number of options, maybe not totally free, but very cheap (I think Motion X maybe was 1.99 and its Drive app maybe 9.99?), OK, I can save it by drinking two cups of coffee less and have a program which is actually superior to Google Macs anyway (and Apple Maps) too. So we do have number of alternatives, I think.

    You have your maps that working just fine, if you don't like AppleMaps. What s the problem?
  6. cyks macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    3rd party apps (namely fitness and real estate) are forced to use the Apple Map Kit...which renders a bunch of them either completely useless or severely crippled. You can also add Find My Phone/ Friends to that list as well.

    Using Apple's Maps, Zillow (a real estate app) now lists my address (along with over 50 of my neighbors) on the same exact point on the map...a few hundred feet away in the woods from where any of us live.
  7. StoneJack thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    I do understand your problem and that you don't care about turn by turn. I think that its reasonable to expect an update of the database soon, maybe in 6.1 or so.
  8. Km133 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
    Thought I'd weigh in -

    I was sitting in a restaurant in Edinburgh last night, comparing my iOS6 maps to my friends' iOS5...when what should drive past but a Tomtom van taking pictures of the street. I'm assuming this will feed directly into Apple Maps...Patience is the key!
  9. StoneJack thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    Another extremely important strategic move in iOS6:

    Google wanted Google+ to be installed by default on all iOS devices. That would great increase its acceptance worldwide.

    However, trusting Google is out of question. So Apple went for deep integration with two social networks: Twitter and Facebook.

    Facebook's integration is far more important, of course. Facebook is almost now like a huge part of Internet, a part where there is no Google and no of its data sniffing exists (there is data collection by FB itself, of course). Facebook also now is in a bit difficult situation after the IPO; however, integration of FB will greatly help FB.

    Moreover, FB has its own search engine: "This new step forward in developing a search platform to directly compete with search juggernaut Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) could be the start to developing an effective search alternative to Google, as the near-infinite store of social information about its 900-million-plus users helps Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) establish a fertile ground for answering pretty specific questions that searchers may want. The idea of very specific, personalized search is something that Zuckerberg alluded to when he spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last month:..Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have: ‘What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the past six months and liked?’ ‘Which of my friends and friends of friends work at this company I’m interested in … so I can talk to them about what it’s like to work there?’”

    Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) already sees the value of its immense social-information stores, and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has recognized the evolution of search to more specificity by establishing its own social network, Google+... Investors with long positions in Facebook – like hedge-fund manager Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC – will certainly be looking to see which way is more effective."

    Inclusion of FB did have also positive impact on FB itself: by September 12, the iPhone 5 and iOS6 conference, FB shares rose in value


    Indeed even now its up 20.62 0.34(1.68%) Sep 26, 4:00PM EDT|After Hours : 20.65 0.03 (0.15%). So a new alliance of FB and Apple is being forged right now as we are witnessing in iOS6
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    OP: As much as it helps Apple keep their brand from stagnating, it also creates a lock in. Sure everything works, but now you're 100% dependent on Apple to keep things updated, and if they let something lag then you have no alternative.

    iMacs, 3G iPhones, USB 3.0, Blu-ray, eSATA... and that's just hardware items they've let lag in recent memory. To say nothing of DLNA, iWork, FCPX...
  11. JS82712 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2009
    Any technological transition is painful; but in the long run, people will realize apple's decision was right.

    Thanks OP for this post, I've seen way too many 'APPLE MAP SUCKS" "GOOGLE MAP PLS" threads.
  12. StoneJack thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    Great move, both the apology and then pitching a number of alternate apps. This will greatly diminish monopoly of Google, since it is almost assumed that Google has best maps which is not true. Even if users won't use Apple Maps, they also won't use Google with their data being spied. They can safely use any other app on the market and there are plenty of them. Meanwhile, Apple maps will be improved and by next version or so fully displace any remnants of Google map spyware. A best analogy is Microsoft Explorer for Mac, a really bad piece of software, which enjoyed years of monopoly on Mac. With Safari, it was forgotten for forever and now you can have even Safari for Windows - which I am using right now.

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