Google close to submitting iOS Maps app for Apple’s approval

“The head-to-head battle between Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in mobile maps is drawing nearer,” Amir Efrati and Jessica E. Lessin report for The Wall Street Journal. “Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. oogle has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it’s unclear exactly when that will happen.”

Efrati and Lessin report, “In mid-September, Apple released its latest iPhone and iPad software called iOS 6 that automatically replaced a Google Maps app that was preinstalled on its mobile devices with Apple’s own mapping software. Apple also removed Google’s YouTube video app, which similarly had been preinstalled on all of the devices. Both preinstalled Google apps had been built by Apple with Google data. An Apple spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on apps that haven’t been submitted for approval. Apple has recently approved some new or updated Google apps.”

“But Apple’s move to boot Google Maps backfired, as numerous consumers complained Apple’s version was riddled with inaccurate data. The controversy prompted a public apology from Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. IPhone software chief Scott Forstall refused to apologize publicly for the embarrassment,” Efrati and Lessin report. “The incident exacerbated longstanding tension between him and other Apple managers, contributing to Mr. Cook’s decision to push him out of the company last month.”

“Apple has continued to work to fix the bugs in its mapping software. The maps team is now under senior vice president for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, who also oversees products like iTunes and iCloud,” Efrati and Lessin report. “Mr. Cue has been hands-on with the maps team and participates in regular meetings to fix the product, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I don’t plan to use the new Google app. I was travelling in Europe when the new Apple Maps appear came out. I found it very adequate for finding my way around. It even worked without a WiFi or 3G connection in London. It helped me find the Templar church in the warrens of the legal/courts district of London. I’m happy with Apple’s effort and it can only get better.

    1. Agreed, the issues have been resolved. The Eiffel Tower and the Hoover Dam render properly now and people have forgotten about mapgate and are enjoying the superior and faster vector based Apple maps with turn by turn directions. Sorry google, we don’t need you anymore.

  2. It will most likely contain ads or some other nepharious hidden data/ location trolling, cookie planting BS…. No thanks… Apple Maps works just fine for my needs… And I hate the inevitble eventual surprise gotcha that always seems to accompany Google “anything”.

    1. Google owns detailed personal data extracted from millions of people. Lord help us if it falls on financial hard times, say due to declining ad revenue. Who’s to say it would shy from marketing that data to other entities—hostile investigators, predatory attorneys, government agencies?

      I would not trust Google to fold under pressure. Call it a hunch.

  3. Summarising form the App developer guidelines, any of the following could cause it to be rejected:

    Apps that duplicate Apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra Apps.

    4.2 Apps that use location-based APIs for automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other devices will be rejected
    Apps that use location-based APIs for dispatch, fleet management, or emergency services will be rejected
    Location data can only be used when directly relevant to the features and services provided by the App to the user or to support approved advertising uses

    Apps that send sensitive personal or confidential information using Push Notifications will be rejected

    Apps that are designed predominantly for the display of ads will be rejected

    Applications that scrape any information from Apple sites (for example from, iTunes Store, App Store, iTunes Connect, Apple Developer Programs, etc) or create rankings using

    Apps cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission and providing the user with access to information about how and where the data will be used
    Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.

    Let’s hope they reject it.

    Google: Don’t do evil – it’s our job

  4. Insofar as look & feel goes, Google maps far outshines Apple maps for coloration, shading, use of fonts & attractive looking text.

    Apple maps by contrast is a shameful collection of Fisher Price text and varying shades of green that make distinguishing landmarks difficult because they all bleed into one another.

    A ‘C’ for effort and a ‘D’ for implementation. Let’s not even go into the paucity of transit information.

    Apple maps iacking all round & requires greater effort. Just above a fail but dipping its toes on an ‘F’.

    1. I’ve heard so much about this transit info, but I’ve never seen it. Is this yet another example of a US-centric feature that gets a lot of attention, but is useless across the rest of the planet?
      And where, exactly, was Google Maps turn-by-turn feature?
      Oh, wait…
      And when/if it does get into the App Store, I guess it’ll still be using satellite data that’s around a decade old, compared to Apple’s which is as recent as six months old in my part of England. Provable by crop circles, new buildings, and aircraft parked for a car launch at an airfield not far away.

      1. The transit data was very useful to youths in cities, which is a key demographic for Apple. Any transit agency who published a feed of their data could be included.

        Not just the US, but it also was in other major cities and they’re always adding new cities. Just recently they added: Manila Phillipines, New South Wales, Australia, Deuthch Bahn Germany and Visalia, USA. They have incredible integration in Japan where they show bullet trains, local trains, as well as HOW much it will cost for different routes. Try searching for “Hokkaido to Osaka” and check it out. It’s pretty impressive.

        Of course, Apple COULD have fostered these same partnerships with city transit agencies, but chose to leave it up to the transit agencies themselves. Huge shortcoming and sorely missed.

  5. I’m no lover of the Google brand, but as I’ve said a dozen times before here and elsewhere, Apple Maps has received a failing grade for leaving their transit customers behind.

    The rest doesn’t matter if I and millions of residents of NY/NJ/CT (and other-metro areas) can’t use it for the vast majority of our travel.

    Thus iOS6 remains an annoying reminder dialog from iTunes and the phone. “No, thank you.”

  6. ““But Apple’s move to boot Google Maps backfired, as numerous consumers complained Apple’s version was riddled with inaccurate data”

    Not so sure.

    Google denies Apple the turn by turn feature (presumably to give Android an advantage). Apple shuts out Google from the iOS ecosystem of profitable users. Google then comes up with a map app for iOS that provides turn by turn in order to get their presence in the iOS ecosystem back. Looks to me like Apple just got what they wanted from Google by forceful means after friendly means with Google failed.

    1. Totally agree. In this case, Apple is providing healthy competition for Google and forced them to play ball. There are people who download Chrome for iOS. There are people who will download Google Maps.

    2. Exactly right. This was an elementary chess gambit that could have been countered by Google had they chosen a superior opening in the first place; but then again, they have never demonstrated a relish for spirited competition. I sense it’s more of a boys’ club mentality at work, flush with early success and now determined to perpetuate it with more slick tricks.

  7. When is Apple going to enable user deletion of unused bundled apps? iOS 6 Maps, Game Center & Newsstand on my iPhone would top my list.

    As to the Google Maps app, i’ll give it a try. Apple Maps is worthless.

  8. The thing I find most interesting about this, is that I seem to recall when iOD 6 first launched, Google made snarky remarks about how “The iOS Google Maps app is ready” and “It’s just waiting for Apple to approve, who of course never will”.

    And now, a couple of months later, the story is that Google is nearly ready to submit it for approval? Sounds to me like they were trying to ride the mapgate coattails and once again fool people into thinking they’re not the evil ones :-/

    1. That’s what I thought, too, but clearly the Google masterminds determined that ad revenue streams were more importent than voter perception. Funny how money trumps principle every time.

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