Apple’s mapping failure couldn’t have come at a better time for Garmin.
With public transport options ready to go, Garmin have updated their Navigon app for iOS 6, complete with support for the iPhone 5’s taller 4 inch display. Garmin StreetPilot Onboard will also follow shortly with an iOS 6 update in the near future, complete with their alternative to Street View.
The public transport options include support for trains, trams, buses and water taxis, as well as Garmin’s new ‘Last Mile’ feature, demonstrated at the IFA: consumer electronics trade show in Berlin earlier this month.
According to the Official Garmin Blog: “Users will be guided to a transit stop by foot and be able to look up detailed information on what line to take and where to get off. The new Last Mile function automatically saves the location of the user’s car when continuing by foot, making it easy to find it on the way back.”
Apple’s own mapping app provides links to third-party navigation and mapping apps to provide the missing public transport features. Garmin’s updated apps join the list of supported services, so you can jump from app to app as painlessly as currently possible. It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s currently the best option available until Apple’s native mapping experience is up to scratch.
It’s surprising that Apple didn’t choose to licence these features from the likes of Garmin in order to make their native mapping experience more feature complete, instead of delivering a half-baked app like they have this week. It’s possible that they may have tried and failed to partner with third-party mapping companies, although no rumours of such talks have ever leaked. Surely, Apple has some plans in the works other than to leave users wanting until Apple themselves catch up.
Based on the current negative attention iOS maps is attracting, Apple may be forced to strike a deal with a third-party to quickly bring the native experience up to parity with the competition. Google have already stated that they want to bring Google Maps to every possible platform, so it’s only a matter of time before we see an official Google Maps app in the iOS App Store. There have been rumours that Google already have an app awaiting approval from Apple, but this has not been officially confirmed.
Until Google or Apple bring a more complete mapping experience to the iOS ecosystem, it looks as though Garmin might be the best port of call for the time being.