The mapping wars have only just begun. While Google struck a major blow to Apple with the return of Google Maps to iOS last week, Apple is reportedly in the process of beefing up its offering for a return to the field. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cupertino is currently in talks with Foursquare, a move that could make Apple Maps an app worth using.
Apple has endured withering criticism in recent months since the release of Apple Maps, much to the competition’s delight: The utter lack of transit directions. Horrifically-rendered 3D models. The inability to lead people to actual places. All these and more contributed to review after review lambasting the service, resulting in the sacking of Scott Forstall and millions of iPhone faithfuls hoping Google would save them from their shared nightmare.
Seriously. Saying Apple Maps is bad is like saying water is wet. It’s a scientific fact.
But a deal with Foursquare could give Apple an edge it sorely needs to stay competitive. Foursquare has earned considerable acclaim as the recommendation engine de rigueur of any social app user, allowing you to check-in to venues and discover new places you and your friends might love. It already competes with Yelp and Google for offering up-to-date, attractive local data, user-generated tips, and deals. And Yelp is already built into Apple Maps – adding Foursquare could solidly make the product a social user’s dream.
The prospect of an Apple-Foursquare partnership would be a strategic win for both companies. Foursquare can only benefit from Cupertino’s support, while Apple could potentially revitalize their own flagging Map app. Imagine checking into your favorite bar via Siri? Such a feature might help turn Apple Maps into a viable product and make Google Maps a redundant alternative, despite its more robust, time-tested features.
Apple surely knows that, despite its rocky reception, there’s no turning back. Offering a complete ecosystem with a decent mapping utility that competes with Google is a battle too dear to lose. A Foursquare deal might the first real push that gets them back on track. And it’s only good news for users: You may have gone rushing back into the comfort of Google Maps, but the more viable alternatives out there, the better our options will be.