Regular readers will know that I often are willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt. But with iOS 6 released today they have actually made a mistake that makes you wonder “whether Steve would have allowed it.” The mistake was to drop Google Maps and replace it with an in-house Maps app with fewer features. To be sure, it has some additional features like turn-by-turn navigation if you have an iPhone that is less than a year old. But what it drops is public transport directions.
This is a huge mistake because this is a feature used by many iPhone users. It is part of the mobile experience with maps. Now if you want public transport directions you are directed to a third party app. If you happen to be in Toronto, none were coming up. This is really, really bad. You can, of course, go to maps.google.com but that is a browser experience. It will get the job done but it is not the same. It is definitely not what we were told to believe was “the Apple way.”
To be sure, I think it is highly likely Apple will fix this. But to leave users without a function for months is very bad form. I can only imagine it was one really poor deal Google were asking for that led to this. But maybe it is a leadership failure within Apple. All in all, the reputational damage to the “put consumers first” value from this is large.
There are lots of good things in iOS 6 but if you don’t have an iPhone 4S or 4, I’m not sure it is worth upgrading. And if others agree, then all of a sudden, Apple’s, “all our users are on the same system,” advantage starts to slip.