Word on the street is that the new iOS6 maps app is a mess, but Philip Elmer-DeWitt argues in Fortune that launching its own maps system was something Apple should have done long ago. However that argument focuses more on what’s good for Apple than what’s good for the consumer. He says “the company found itself in the position of feeding its customers’ priceless location information into the mapping database of its mortal enemy. That couldn’t go on forever.” Google maps have matured over the years, growing ever more accurate and robust as Google has leveraged “billions upon billions of data points supplied by hundreds of millions of users” to improve its maps over the years, which makes “Google Maps seem so smart and iOS 6’s new Maps app seem so laughably stupid.”
I can think of a competing argument here: letting Google do what it’s done so well and continuing to leverage it could make sense in they way it would support the user’s experience.
On the other hand having the two companies compete, each trying to outdo the other with its offering, could longer-term lead to a better user experience.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Here’s Mashable’s more detailed critique of the new Maps app, with comments and a slideshow, noting that “the problems are so numerous, Maps may never have a chance to prove itself before Google comes back strong. The search giant will soon release its iOS version, probably after just enough time has passed for us all to try Apple’s Maps and pronounce it DOA.”