It’s a beautiful day in the tech blogging community when Apple doesn’t do something up to the standards that they’ve set for the company – arguably because Apple does so many things well so consistently that the lens they’ve crafted for themselves to be viewed under could fry an ant’s nutsack. Witness the sentiment over the Maps app included in iOS 6 to replace Google’s offering. If the headlines of my RSS reader were to be taken at face value, you’d think that Apple’s foray into the mapping world was the worst thing to happen in the history of navigation. Of course that’s not true. If you don’t understand why, you should familiarize yourself with the way content gets monetized on the Internet. Tech bloggers are sick of praising Apple because it doesn’t generate the requisite friction required to keep the lights on. If you uniformly praise a tech company that has done more in the history of consumer electronics than anyone else combined, you only pull from the side of the aisle consisting of people who appreciate the level of success Apple has earned. If you’re a contrarian who vomits unsourced, illogical bullshit into the ether, you can pull from two populations: the people who love the company disagreeing with you as well as the growing band of malcontents lining up to cheer on your effort. It doesn’t make for balanced reporting, but that’s why newspapers are dying and you’re combing through Gawker for nip slips.
Apple’s Maps are not the equivalent of Google’s Maps – today. I know that this may come as a shock to some readers, but having the 7 year head start mapping the world that Google had has made their product more complete as of iOS 6.0. Google has had fleets of vehicles sniffing the globe vacuuming data – all kinds of data – that it has poured into its mapping app. It’s arguably the most concerted software effort undertaken by the company and the only element of Android that an unbiased person would say is better than iOS. Credit where it’s due and all that. But the level that the technorati will go to slag Apple being what it is, the reality of Apple Maps’ shortcomings is being blown up a la Antennagate. Does anyone remember what Google Maps looked like 7 years ago? Is that somehow not a valid comparison?
Like anything that Apple has undertaken, Maps will get better as people use it. If the history of iOS is any predictor of future events, this evolution will be methodical and constant. Apple will weather the bluster over Maps the same way it always does: by focusing on making the product better regardless of how many Tumblr posts are made picking out the disparate parts of the globe that Apple has mislabeled.
So while Apple may just be starting its effort, rest assured that it has also just started improving it. You can also be assured that it will be improved in a way that looks better, is easier to use and doesn’t compromise the privacy of the world’s population getting the information to do it. For the butthurt, maps.google.com still works just fine.