After failing to replace Google Maps with its own built-in navigation system, Apple on Wednesday gave up on the three-month project and welcomed the world's most popular online maps back to its iPhones.
Besides some sorely missed accuracy and stability, Google's new iPhone mapping app offers street-level photography of local neighborhoods — a first on Apple's mobile operating system — along with three-dimensional views, public transit directions, and listings for more than 80 million businesses.
Apple’s decision to switch back followed a rare public apology by Apple for its quirky homemade navigation system.
“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in late September, “We fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”
As a result of the Apple miscue, which resulted in widespread public ridicule of the product, Cook gave the boot to the executive who oversaw Apple's mobile operating system.
Since its introduction in September, the Apple Maps app was notorious for misplacing landmarks, omitting roads and erroneously marking rivers and other bodies of water.
In one extreme example, the app’s inaccuracies took at least six people in the wrong direction down a dirt road into a remote state park in Australia, where they spent 24 hours in scorching temperatures without food and water before being rescued.
The incident prompted Australian police to warn the public earlier this month not to use the Apple Map app
while driving down certain roads.
Initial complaints about the Maps app coincided with the company’s much-awaited release of its iPhone5 in late September.
After approving the technology, Apple didn’t to respond to media inquiries on Wednesday about the Google's Maps app.
Daniel Graf, mobile director of Google Maps, told reporters that the otherwise competitive search engine giant and Apple were on the same page.
“On maps, we have a friendly relationship,” he said.
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