Triska Hamid | December 13, 2012
Google Maps has finally returned to the iPhone, bringing a sigh of relief to Middle East users who complained after Apple decided to drop the maps from its operating system (OS) and replace it with its own, inferior alternative.
The free app is now available in 40 countries and 29 languages on the iTunes store, according to Google, and includes turn-by-turn navigation and public transit directions.
Google Maps were previously built into the Apple iOS software, but was removed in September by the maker of the iPhone and replaced with its own home-grown attempt based on maps provided by Dutch navigation company TomTom.
Some users complained that the replacement map lacks sufficient data for the Middle East region, rendering it less useful than Google’s offering.
The move was considered a snub at Google and an attempt by Apple to distance itself from the search engine giant, which makes the rival Android OS.
But the number of complaints from users across the world forced Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook to issue an apology in an open letter on the website.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” he wrote.
According to IDC figures, Android phones lead the smartphone market worldwide ahead of Apple’s iPhone.
Google has been developing its maps since 2005.