Apple’s Maps application, which launched with iOS 6 earlier this year, was supposed to be the product that would finally kill off Google Maps—at least on the iPhone.
Instead, Maps proved to be a nightmare for Apple. The program lacked detail. Some cities and major landmarks were in the wrong places. Some towns were even duplicated.
Recently, Australian police warned road travelers that Apple Maps had one particular flaw that could endanger their lives by leading them deep into a hot, waterless wilderness. It’s believed now that Apple’s Maps might not have been entirely at fault, but the damage is already done.
The problems were so embarrassingly bad that Apple was forced to apologize. CEO Tim Cook promised that his company would work hard to address the application’s problems and deliver a much better product in the future.
But at this point, it’s hard to say for sure why Apple would even try to repair Maps. Instead, it might be a good time to discuss killing off Maps as a bad business rather than trying to improve it or build a replacement. Here are the reasons why.
1. Google Maps worked just fine
Apple’s decision to launch Maps came at the expense of Google Maps, a service that was running in iOS since that operating system’s launch in 2007. Now, Apple wants its own map application to dominate in the iOS ecosystem. But why? Google Maps is arguably the best mapping application out there and works just fine on iOS. Wouldn’t Apple want its customers to have the best available app and not the worst?
2. Does Apple really need the outcry?
Apple doesn’t need all the headaches that go along with the Maps kerfuffle. Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologize; Google scoffed at Maps; and the Apple haters laughed in unison. Apple doesn’t need that.
3. Too many resources are being dedicated to it
In a recent interview with Fortune, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he has dedicated significant resources to Maps to ensure that it gets to where it should be. He also said that there is a growing team working on the program. That’s a mistake. Apple’s resources can be used more effectively elsewhere.
4. There’s no timetable for better features
Even though Cook promises improved performance, he’s unwilling to say right now when better features might be coming to iOS. That’s a problem. If current users are going to suffer with Maps, they should know when an improvement will be made available. Leaving that out just forces them to go elsewhere or stay away from Google Maps.
Apple Maps Must Die Sooner Than Later: 10 Reasons Why
5. There’s more to benefit from the App Store
Apple benefits from having more third-party applications available for users to download. The more engagement consumers have with its App Store, the more likely users will be to stick with Apple products over the long-term. By delivering its own poor-quality mapping application, Apple only encouraged customers to go to the App Store to search for a Map program that works. Unless Apple finds a way to vastly improve and monetize Maps, there’s no upside to hurting third-party developers who have (unfortunately) become competitors.
6. It’s OK to lose one
Apple believes that it must always win its battles. But that’s a falsehood. It’s just fine for Apple to admit when it’s wrong, wave the white flag and move on. Believe it or not, Apple, there’s no shame in admitting you made a mistake.
7. Most don’t care which company makes the mapping app
Although Maps might eventually become a high-quality application, it’s hard to see how much Apple can gain by seeing that happen. Sure, Apple would achieve its goal of kicking Google out of iOS, but when it’s all said and done, consumers don’t care which company is developing the apps, as long as they work well. The sooner Apple realizes that, the sooner it can move on from this.
8. Siri is more important
Let’s not forget that in addition to Maps, Apple is suffering software troubles with its personal virtual assistant, Siri. Considering Siri plays such an important role in iOS functionality, Apple would be better served by spending cash improving that program, rather than Maps.
9. It takes the attention off hardware
After launching Maps with all its problems, Apple delivered the iPhone 5. And although the device got ample coverage, Maps ended up taking some of the attention away from the handset, because people were focusing on Maps as a major huge issue with iOS. Apple doesn’t need software to distract from hardware. And yet, that’s exactly what Maps is doing.
10. The risk is too high
The last thing Apple can do is claim to fix Maps and have users find that it’s still plagued with quality problems. If it does, Apple might face a whole new outcry that it won’t easily overcome. The risk is simply too high for Apple to try its luck with another update. At this point, Apple should ditch Maps, pretend that it never happened and move on. Coming back into the market with a half-baked redux could turn out to be a huge mistake.