Google launches official maps app for the iPhone and iPad

Google launches official maps app for the iPhone and iPad

When Apple decided to drop Google Maps in favor of its own mapping software in September, there was widespread criticism as iOS Maps, though attractively presented, was riddled with mistakes and geographical errors, so much so that two weeks after its offical launch, Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, was moved to issue a formal apology.

However, Apple's reason for dropping Google was because the version of maps for Apple users lacked important functions, such as turn-by-turn navigation and voice instructions. Features that were available to Android device users.

But now iPhone and iPad users have a maps app that is arguably superior to the current Android version as it features Google Maps Navigation. While still in beta, the app is essentially a full voice-guided GPS navigation system.

Meanwhile, Apple's iOS Maps came in for fresh criticism this week when an Australian police force issued an official statement on Monday warning visitors to Mildura, Victoria not to use Apple's mapping software to plan their route, following a number of drivers who had been incorrectly routed to and stranded at a national park 70km away which has no running water or mobile phone reception and where temperatures often top 45° C.

Samsung was quick to pounce on Apple's misfortune, launching a guerrilla marketing campaign in Sydney that featured a mud-covered SUV next to a sign that said, "Oops, should have got a Samsung Galaxy S III. Get navigation you can trust." However, Samsung was a little too quick to judge. Another Australian police force, this time in the town of Colac, west of Melbourne, on Tuesday released its own warning about similar inaccuracies with Google Maps. The force claimed that Google Maps had also put people's lives at risk by directing motorists down Wild Dog Road, a one-way road not intended for heavy traffic.

When Apple's mapping glitch was investigated further, it was discovered that there is a place called "Mildura Rural City" within the Sunset National Park and it is listed in the Australian Government's official Gazetteer.

But thanks to the negative publicity the initial mistake generated, Apple has already corrected the problem and has renewed its pledge to fix its mapping software's other shortcomings. Although the company is yet to say how or when this will be achieved, the latest rumors within the industry suggest that Apple may be considering a bid to acquire TomTom the mapping and satellite navigation company.