Apple needs to either forgive Google or get serious about search
I bought each new iphone because every time I felt like it was the best phone with the best ecosystem. This time, Apple made the least convincing case for its superiority. Almost all of the features in iPhone 5 are some form of catch up. Don't get me wrong. I'm waiting on my 5 to get delivered, but my confidence in that decision is down to 50/50. Right now the iPhone is still the best piece of hardware in many respects, Apple still has a better collection of apps and a better overall ecosystem, and I'm heavily invested at this point. The Galaxy S3 is a nice piece of hardware too though. Google will eventually figure out how to provide one awesome unified but customizable Android experience. Most of the best apps are on both platforms. The question is will Apple be able to compete with Google when the battle shifts from the hardware and the ecosystem to search and the cloud?
I don't know why Google never offered turn by turn on the iphone. Maybe Apple wasn't willing to pay what Google was asking. That said if BGR is right iOS maps sucks because Apple isn't working as hard on maps as Google is. Maps in 2012 is not just a map. It might be the most important search The current iteration of iOS maps is falling short of Apple's "it just works" mantra. I'm not saying I expect street view just yet or hours of businesses, although they do need to come eventually. If iOS were a little smarter and allowed you to push common functions between related apps, you could work around those. I do expect maps to know where I am, be able to find EVERYTHING, and give me the tools that I need to find it.
Siri and Google Now are arguably neck and neck now, but is there any doubt that Google Now will iterate faster and provide better results over the next year or the year after when compared with Siri? Because Google tends to roll out improvements steadily over time and Apple tends to do make a big show of it. If I have to wait a whole year to learn that all Siri learned in the year since iOS 6 is what time and channel Breaking Bad is coming on, I hope they boo in the auditorium. Beyond setting reminders and appointments, Siri is basically a constrained search engine. Google already knows what most people are searching for. I'm guessing the name Google Now instead of Android or Computer is at least in part a recognition of how going forward digital personal assistants will just be putting a prettier, simplified face on the common searches we had been doing all along. Does Apple realize how hard it will be to out-Google Google at assisted search when Google is the master of actual search?
That's not even counting the fact that Google also has what many people regard as better email, calendar, and notification services, not to mention an interesting browser.
I say this as someone who is on his fifth iphone and has converted his whole family and many of my friends. I'm a huge fan, but Apple's stupid fight with Google is a serious and unnecessary problem that is only overshadowed by the chaos of the Android ecosystem. I'm not sure which is harder. Either way Apple either needs to hire a small army of their own to compete with Google and make Maps what it needs to be all while working on making Siri do much more than she already does (because a smarter Siri is the only thing that will wow people at this point) or forgive Google and let all of Google's apps come into the app store with no restrictions.