Let the iOS maps war begin

By , Jun 23, 2012

One of the headlining stories of iOS 6 is the fact that Apple has taken over the Maps application. Not only did it rebuild the app from the ground up, but it also stopped using Google’s mapping data.

From what we’ve heard, this was a long time coming. According to an ex-Google employee, the two companies have been battling for years over what Apple wanted to do with the Maps application.

So now that Apple has total control of it, the Maps war is over, right?

Not quite.

Google’s SVP of Commerce & Local Jeff Huber made an interesting comment on his Google+ page today, in response to the following inquiry from an iOS user:

“Just REALLY hope all this hard work is still appreciable from an iOS device.. I can assure you that just because some of us have iPhones and iPads doesn’t mean we don’t prefer google maps over the elementary stuff apple is said to be proposing! We need a great Google Map app. Pleeeeease!”

His response?

“We look forward to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.”

Now, as 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub points out, Huber’s response doesn’t sound like just a web app makeover. It sounds like the company is planning to release its own standalone iOS maps application. Mix in the recent announcement that it would be bringing its 3D maps to iOS devices in the near future, and that’s gospel.

So what’s Google’s plan here? Surely it can’t take on Apple’s new Maps application, which, starting in October, will be installed (and unremovable) on every single new iOS device. Can it?

It’s possible. Judging by initial reactions to Apple’s Maps application, people are a bit disappointed. Sure, it’s only in beta. And Apple can add 100 new features to it by the time it’s ready for public release in the fall. But Scott Forstall made it clear that the app won’t have built-in transit directions. And it won’t have Google’s popular Street View.

However, even without these two features, Apple still has one major advantage over Google: third-party app support. Think of all of the apps you use with built-in Maps support. Some developers may use a third-party mapping service, but a majority of them use the native Maps application because, well, it’s native.

Google has a plan though. The company recently announced that it has slashed the costs for developers to use its Maps API in their applications by 8x. So instead of charging $4 per 1,000 map loads, it’s now just $0.50. That should help garner some third-party support, right?

So why is Google even worried about mapping software on iOS, does it have its own mobile platform? Easy: money. It’s a fairly well known fact that the revenue Google makes on iOS is far more than it makes off of its own platform. This comes from mostly advertisements — a lot of which were carefully placed in the stock Maps application. Obviously it can make up for some of this lost revenue if it can figure out away to get on a large amount of iOS devices again.

We’ll obviously know more once Google decides to unveil what its “amazing” plans for iOS are. Maybe we’ll hear something at the I/O conference next week. If it is a standalone application — and chances are, it will be —  it’ll be interesting to see if people choose to use it over the built-in Maps app. Or more importantly, if Apple even approves it.

Either way, it doesn’t seem like the iOS maps war is over. If anything, it looks like it’s just getting started.

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  • davidgr1991

    First…!!!

    • LUFC_MOT

      Correct … First knobhead alright !!

    • Outhig

      You sir, have an awesome life.

  • http://twitter.com/idhanta Idhanta|iOSJedi

    Lmao is the John Cena vs The Rock promo image edited?

    • Melvco

      lol close. It’s a War movie poster with Jet Li and Jason Statham.

      • http://twitter.com/Asad_1nfam0us اسد شہاب – Asad

        Jason Statham should’ve had the new Maps on him lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.soderholm Aaron Soderholm

    I would love for Google Navigator to come to iOS. May the best map/navigator app win!

  • http://youtube.com/MathiasVerden Mathias Lindberg

    Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, they’re almost all the same. Different design and different sources, but initially, they’re used for the exact same thing.

    • http://twitter.com/ElGatoQueHabla El Gato

      Sure. So you should get a Lenovo tablet with android 2.3. It does the same that an ipad.

      • therealjjohnson

        i see your point…but not the same argument really.

  • http://twitter.com/hunterray55 pwned apple

    if the google maps non-built-in app would feature 3D view and turn-by-turn for older devices (not that i won’t use the tweak, 3d enabler, that i currently love)

  • http://twitter.com/decaffe Caf Caf

    The Navigation on an iPhone 4S, running iOS 6 beta 1 is truly amazing. It is sleek, and beautiful. The attention to detail when (for example) making a turn, is good old Apple magic.

    • http://twitter.com/bluebuury ɑղժɾҽա

      It’s been really helpful lately. I use my for directions all the time, and the turn-by-turn functionality is great!

  • http://twitter.com/Freducken Alfredo Arredondo

    As long as either/both include downloadable regional maps for offline viewing I will be a happy camper– literally :-)

  • http://twitter.com/ahood81 Adam Hood

    Who says apple will even let googles map app on their phone?

  • YujinNY

    If iOS is the main platform for money for google they should make a killer app with all the features on android and not give us some shitty second rated app.

  • thepies

    Google map ftw!

  • http://twitter.com/2morebatteries AAAA

    Based on their map icon, I’d go with Google. At least Google doesn’t guide you to turn left off a bridge/overpass.

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      don’t directly compare google maps which has been out for years to apples BETA maps which have been out for less than 2 weeks

    • http://kgelner.myopenid.com/ kgelner

      Apple is obviously planning ahead for flying cars. Google’s icon is painfully descriptive, just showing a pin sitting there with no direction at all.

  • Wael Abdo

    may the best man win…

  • http://twitter.com/RandyGWheeler Randy Wheeler

    This is a very simple fix for everyone. Just let Google sell the Google Maps as an app and we all win!! I would pay for it!