I just installed iOS 6 and made a beeline for the Maps app. Um. That was pretty much my first thought: um. The reason being, I went for my house and found a pixelated mess in place of what was once a slightly dated satellite map of my garden. Naturally, this is presumably because the UK is in fact ‘London’, but I don’t live in that bit. (Comically, photos of where I live are so bad in the new Maps that you can’t even make out major roads when you zoom out quite a lot.) Of course, on visiting a few random US postcodes, overhead shots at the same zoom level were spiffy. In the UK, things went from OK to London to black and white to London. In addition, the lack of Street View renders Maps less useful for working at countering my astonishing ability to get lost absolutely anywhere by checking out what a street or building looks like before I set off.
I don’t doubt Maps will improve, but it’ll be interesting to see what comes next. Has Google got its own app in the works, ready for release at a time when lots of iOS users are grumbling? I suspect Google Maps for iOS would go down brilliantly right about now, in part because most people think CHANGE IS BAD, but also because quite a few of the changes in Maps actually are bad. (Depending on your location, the app is either a minor feature downgrade or a massive shift to a relatively tiny amount of information.) Another option would be to leave Apple users in the lurch, not bother with Maps for iOS for months, and point to Android as being the best for that kind of thing.
A sensible Google would take the first option, given that Apple’s app will improve, and also that few people will ditch a platform just because Maps became a bit crap. But whether Google’s got its sensible hat on today is something only Google itself knows.