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Given the many innovations we've seen from Apple, transforming the mobile user experience, the company's market leadership is well-deserved. And yet, while Apple currently plays a commanding role in today's mobile market, the company faces a sizeable challenge in maintaining its image as the innovative leader in mobile.
With its latest release of the iPhone 5 comes the release of the iOS6 operating system - a siginifcant update that came with this release was Apple Maps. Likely motivated by a desire to distance itself from Google and the perceived reliance Apple has had on Google for mapping technologies, Apple worked with Tom Tom for its mapping solution in iOS6. However, Apple is currently facing a whirlwind of backlash with its integrated maps application on the new iPhone. Mapping applications are increasingly a differetiator in the mobile space, and Apple's attempt clearly pales in comparison to those offered by Google and Nokia. Given that users of iOS 5 and previous versions have become familiar with Google's mapping, this failed substitution is proving to much more visible and palpable to users. Apple's options now? According to TechCrunch, Apple is working fervishly to hire developers familiar with Google's mapping technologies.
Apple is in a pickle here - no matter its investment in enhancing its mapping solution, this will take time. Time is of the essence for Apple to release an update to fix the flaws in its mapping application. In the meantime, Apple will continue to be in the limelight for its oversights in releasing this weak mapping technology. We are also seeing a considerable number of users delay upgrade solely for the desire to keep Google's mapping capabilities. Thus with the release of iOS 6, Apple has alienated its users and further shone the light on the disparity between its own capabilities in mapping and those of Google. For a company known for optimizing user experience, this represents a serious misstep. And yet, in the end, Apple will no doubt bounce back as it did in 2010 with the iPhone 4 "Death Grip" phenomenon.