Apple’s Maps app came under fire when it was released, removing the longstanding Google Maps powered app that had been in place since the first iPhone. Thankfully, there were countless alternatives, one of which was HERE Maps, developed by Nokia. This being the season of massive hardware sales and gift giving, it’s a great time for apps looking to gain traction, with app downloads at an all time high. That is, if you make your app available. In what seems like a bizarre decision, Nokia has removed their HERE Maps app for iPhone and iPad. Now we’ve seen quite a few developers temporarily pull an app to clear up a nasty bug, only to return with a few days or so. Google seems to do that with regularity. This removal from Nokia is not due to any bug or security issue, nor is it temporary. According to Nokia represenatives via Engadget, Nokia has pulled the HERE Maps app saying it harms the user experience.
“We have made the decision to remove our HERE Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience. iPhone users can continue to use the mobile web version of HERE Maps under m.here.com, offering them location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information and more, all completely free of charge.”
I haven’t personally used Nokia’s HERE Maps, at least on iOS and only a handful of times on Windows Phone. I’m not sure how the option to use it via a web browser fixes the user experience. Even if they were correct about iOS 7 harming the experience, that seems like one step forward and two step back.
Earlier this year, Nokia was purchased by Microsoft. Even before that, they had become the primary manufacturer of Windows Phones. I’m not certain if that in some way is playing a factor in this decision. I’d venture to guess that iPhone users will get by just fine with the default Maps app, Google Maps, Navigon and others.