Apple opted to switch over to its internally-designed maps application for iOS more than a year before its contract with Google Maps expired, according to The Verge, suggesting that the under-polished Apple Maps software could have been released after additional tooling. The report claims Google is working to develop a new iOS Google Maps app, but it’s incomplete and likely months away. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt recently said his company would need Apple’s approval before bringing Google Maps back to the App Store.
Both companies apparently had their concerns moving forward: Apple was concerned about iOS Google Maps lagging behind Android’s mapping capabilities, as Google’s iOS Maps lacked turn-by-turn navigation that had been available on Android for years. Google sought more prominent branding and the ability to add new features, which Apple wouldn’t allow. Nevertheless, Apple made the decision to end the deal early.
Criticism continues for the new iOS 6 Maps, except perhaps in China. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple made a special version of Maps for the country, and it appears to be an upgrade over Google Maps within China’s borders. Apple used data from Chinese mapping company AutoNavi Holdings to create more detailed maps, though the maps are far from perfect — they don’t offer spoken driving directions or 3D flyover technology, and their detail within other countries is limited.