The last update on Apple’s iOS became headline all over the news for all the wrong reasons… it replaced the maps application from Google, which is considered the industry leading maps provider, with their own solution which was pitched as an amazing feature with amazing drive-by directions and beautiful fly-over views. However, they forgot to mention the maps were inaccurate, commercial info is missing, and the satellite images are far from ideal.

I’m sure Apple knew the solution was not perfect but they had many reasons to do the change and I suppose they didn’t expect the backlash to be as big. However, this whole move highlights one very important thing… Apple is typically praised because it integrates perfectly Software and Hardware, but this is no longer enough as Services have become critical, and in this respect Apple has a long history of failures.

On the other side of the spectrum you have Google, which has a good history in providing services but is not as good when it comes to software/hardware, and right in the middle you have Microsoft which doesn’t really excel in any (although some might argue software).

Now Google has released their own Google Maps for iOS, and while I have to admit I prefer Apple’s application, still I will continue to use Google’s as it is useless to have a beautiful app that can’t find anything.

Yes I’m sure Apple Maps will get better with time and might some day become usable, but chances are by then Google will have something better… it is a fast paced race and Apple starts with a very long delay. However there are rumors about Apple partnerships with FourSquare, and with the resources they have, I’m sure they can certainly do a good effort to make a dent in the maps arena. And then there’s Microsoft+Nokia Maps which, while good, I think will have a very hard time… which makes me wonder if there really is space enough in the smartphone market for a three horse race.

Only time will tell…