Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Google Maps for iOS 6 may be in alpha, screenshots leaked

Ever since iOS6 came out, Apple users lost Google Maps and were forced to use the company’s new Maps app, which turned out to be very buggy. However, it looks like owners of Apple devices won’t have to wait long for their trusty Google Maps app to come to iOS 6. App Maps developer Ben Guild has posted leaked screenshots and details of what he says is the alpha build of Google Maps for iOS 6.

Guild states that the new Google Maps app for iOS 6 is vector-based, has two-finger rotation in any angle, and supports the four-inch iPhone 5 screen. He describes the app as 'super fast'.

Rumours about Google hard at work developing a standalone Maps app for iOS 6 have been doing the rounds. The New York Times reported in late September that Google’s app won’t be making it to iOS 6 for another couple of months as it was “caught off-guard” by Apple’s decision. It is speculated that the search giant only began developing the app after Apple announced in June this year that it would be replacing Google Maps with its own application.

Google recently released a new update for the web version of its Maps service, which lets users access Street View from the mobile browser version of Google Maps in iOS. While the update is mainly for iOS devices, Google has said that other phones can also use Street View on the Google Maps web app, but it won’t work equally well. The feature is available on both the iPhone and the iPad by accessing Google Maps from the device and hitting the Street View button on the upper/lower right side. It is also possible to have Google Maps and Nokia Maps running on your browser in full screen on your iOS device.

Apple’s Maps app was met with widespread criticism for its mistakes in addresses, mislabelled landmarks and other navigation features. Comparisons were drawn with Google’s offering, and as Apple's Maps app came short, reviews of the iPhone 5 were marred by criticism of the app. CEO Tim Cook eventually issued an apology and recommended Apple’s users to opt for Google and Nokia’s offerings while Apple improved their own maps app.

He said, "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better...While we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app".

Regarding the complaints that the company has been facing for the new Maps app, Apple has been quoted in the media as saying, “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

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