Apple's Maps manager Richard Williamson was fired after flaws in the mapping software "hurt" the iPhone 5, according to Bloomberg. Senior Vice President Eddy Cue fired Williamson, who oversaw the Apple Maps development, on Tuesday. Unnamed sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Cue is planning to “install a new leadership team” to oversee the Maps application, and is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts TomTom NV.
Apple has been criticized for ditching Google Maps for its own inferior mapping software. The Maps debacle didn't hurt iPhone 5 sales, but it did force Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare apology for an Apple product. The Apple Maps mess also prompted Nokia and Google to create rival mapping apps to be used with iOS devices. Nokia's HERE app is already available for download, while Google is expected to unveil its map application in the near future.
Nokia plans to enter the Maps fray by bringing its own mapping application to iOS and Android devices. The company announced on Tuesday it is preparing to release a maps app called "Here" in the Apple App Store. The new application will be free for iPhone, iPad and iPod owners.
Nokia hopes offering the application free of charge to iPhone users will help keep the mapping platform competitive. Stephen Elop, chief executive of Nokia, said in an interview that the app needs users to help make the system smarter, but Nokia doesn't plan on giving all of its services away for free. For example, the City Lens app, which allows users to see information about a location when pointing the camera at it, will remain a Lumia phone exclusive.
“For the location platform to be at the highest quality, one needs scale, and you need as many different people contributing as possible,” Mr. Elop said. “Of course, Nokia will build apps, some of them unique to Lumia devices, that gain a competitive advantage for Nokia.”
Inside Google sources told the Guardian they are "not optimistic" Apple will approve a new Google Maps app that is purportedly in the works for iOS devices. According to the Guardian source, Google is worried Apple will decide to save face by "moving forward in an effort to make its obviously inferior product better". However, CNET's Casey Newton believes the Guardian's sources "are almost certainly wrong," and I agree.
Apple's own CEO Tim Cook told iOS users to use Google or Nokia maps while Apple worked on "improving" its own Maps product.
"While we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app."
For those iPhone owners who aren't the biggest fans of Apple's home grown Maps application, take heart. The company has explicitly stated during its earnings call today that work continues on improving Maps. Apple made the decision to replace Google Maps with the launch of iOS 6.
The announcement came directly from CFO Peter Oppenheimer, who stated that Apple has "made a number of improvements to Maps over the past month and will work nonstop until Maps lives up to our incredibly high standards." No doubt Apple has Google in their sights and does not want to be considered the inferior solution.
Ever since the iPhone 5 launch, Apple's Maps application has come under fire as one of the top five iPhone 5 complaints. Google Maps fans miss street view and transit directions, and some have experienced other glitches as Apple continues to work on the software. Added functionality from Apple such as turn-by-turn navigation and Flyover mode have made it easier to accept the new Maps.
Rumors have been bouncing around that Google would attempt to release its own stand-alone iOS app to compete with the native Apple version. Whether or not Apple will approve such an app remains to be seen. The images above are purportedly of the alpha version of Google Maps currently in development. Assuming these are genuine, Google is in fact working on a Google Maps application for iOS.
As owners of older iPhone hardware are painfully aware, the iOS 6 update is limited on A4 devices including the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Some of the features that iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users enjoy include turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Flyover maps in major cities. Well now thanks to a new jailbreak tweak you can unlock full iOS 6 maps capability on a jailbroken iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS.
Apple made iOS 6 available on these older devices, however the company intentionally limits some features to keep performance optimized. That being said, iPhone 3GS users who are interested in turn-by-turn directions are turning this feature on at their own risk. Sluggish performance could occur because the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 hardware is significantly more powerful than the iPhone 4 and 3GS. Even though you can run iOS 6 maps on your device with this tweak, it could be slow or use up too much memory to function.