When Apple announced that iOS 6 would include a new Maps app with turn-by-turn driving directions, I’ll bet that the companies behind the many third-party iOS navigation apps feared that their wares would be rendered instantly obsolete.
Instead, the problems with the new Maps’ data have presented other nav purveyors with something they couldn’t have anticipated: an opportunity.
Telenav, for instance, has announced that it’s offering a year’s worth of the iPhone version of its Scout Plus service — usually $24.99 — for free.
Telenav doesn’t even mention Apple’s mapping woes in the blog post announcing the offer, but the timing isn’t an astounding coincidence. A company representative who e-mailed me about the deal said “We want to give people the opportunity to get Scout Plus for free if they are looking for an alternative to Apple Maps.”
As the screenshot in this post shows, Telenav, like Apple, licenses some of its mapping information from TomTom. But TomTom is arguing that issues with Apple’s Maps don’t stem from the information which it provides.
Apple, of course, has every reason to fix Maps as quickly as possible, so that people stop stressing about this whole matter and don’t see it as a reason to buy some other company’s smartphone. It can’t swiftly fix gazillions of individual glitches with Maps’ data. But I wonder if there’s any holistic approach it can take — or additional data sets it could license which would instantly improve the experience?
One other thing about that Scout screenshot: Judging from the map, it seems to show an iPhone located almost precisely where I’m sitting right now in TIME’s San Francisco office. Unless Telenav has invented magical geolocating JPEG images…