Nick Wingfield and Claire Cain Miller:
People pining for a Google Maps app on their Apple devices will get one eventually, but likely not for another couple months or so.
Google is developing a maps application for iPhone and iPad that it is seeking to finish by the end of the year, according to people involved with the effort who declined to be named because of the nature of their work.
[...] Publicly, Google has been cagey about whether it will provide Google Maps for iOS devices as an app, beyond saying that it wants to provide its maps to users on any device they use. On Tuesday in Tokyo, Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, said the company had made no move to submit a Google Maps app for the iPhone.
But Google does intend to build a Google Maps app for iOS, according to people who have been involved in an effort to create the app.
Given the lack of certainty over Google's intentions, it's certainly interesting to see such a confirmation stem from the New York Times.
At the same time, however, this continued puppetry and journalistic repetition has shifted from a harmless nuisance into a bothersome and pointless spectacle. Beyond the true issue at hand, whether Apple's mapping solution is good enough or not, the sheer volume of impotent, unentertaining, and link-bait riddled coverage has become hard to bear.
Perhaps Apple Maps is somewhat lacking at this time, particularly with regard to the highly-touted Flyover functionality. But, in my experience, stripping away such cosmetic niceties and using Apple Maps purely for topographical information, Apple Maps is not the stunted entity it has been made out to be.
Outside of the Apple versus Google circus, I prefer to focus on the fact that Apple is attempting to innovate in an area of the industry that has been more-or-less monopolized by Google. Although Apple's solution may not quite match up to Google's at this point, I take great solace in the mere fact that it is, in fact, seeking to build a superior product.
The vast majority of armchair commentators seem to have altogether forgotten that Google's Maps for iOS was often extraordinarily sub-par. Lacking any significant infrastructural updates like turn-by-turn directions for the entirety of their five year residency in iOS, Google's solution was utterly and irrefutably stagnant. Having dealt with Google Maps on Android a very great deal, it's clear that the company had plenty more to offer the iOS user. For whatever reason, such benefits were never shared with Apple's devices.
If I were an Apple executive and I watched as a company I had an agreement with provided a superior product elsewhere, but a lackluster product solely to me, I'd certainly begin to make alternate plans as well.
Political reasons aside, however, the matter simply boils down to the fact that Apple has sought to create an experience befitting of its discerning consumer base. Google had failed to offer meaningful improvements to the end-user and, in turn, Apple undertook the extraordinary task of building a complete topographical, three-dimensionally rendered, and vector-driven mapping solution for its users.
Many have been quick to identify such a maneuver as the outcome of Apple's tireless desire to exert granular control over the entirety of the iOS experience. Perhaps that's an accurate observation, but given the fact that such an extensive exertion of control has characterized the iOS experience for the entirety of its lifetime, I tend to reside on the side of optimism.
The exertion of control is the differentiating factor between Apple and its competitors, and it may well be the primary reason for the affability and enjoyment rendered by the software experience it provides. Although Jelly Bean offers a (mostly) smooth, robust, and utterly capable experience, the lack of control over the platform has led to consumer confusion, stuttering animations, and a laughable lack of up-to-date hardware devices across the Android ecosystem. For Apple, control allows for the creation and sustenance of a beautiful consumer-facing experience — something which you can hardly fault it for.
Simply put, Apple specializes in the creation of experientially better products than its competitors. Although Apple Maps may not quite be complete and finished, it is, however, free, attractive, ambitious, and purpose-built for the well-designed Apple hardware we're all so passionate about.
So, rather than descend into a nattering echo-chamber of self-serving negativity, perhaps we might look at the bigger picture. Competition is an irrefutably good thing for the marketplace, and Apple's desire to produce something measurably better is undeserving of our petty belittlement.
I, for one, am excited for Apple to create an experientially superior product to that of its competitors — a process which is systemic to the very identity of the Cupertino giant. The product isn't quite there yet, but, looking back, what Apple product has ever been perfect in its first iteration?