The iPhone almost didn't have a Maps app to begin with

Jobs ordered it just weeks before launch

iOS 6 maps comparison

Early iPhone 5 and Apple iOS 6 adopters have been moaning about the loss of Google's Maps app, but according to a new report the iPhone almost didn't have a Maps app to begin with.

The decision to include Maps on the original iPhone in 2007 came only weeks before the device's unveiling, claims the New York Times.

Apple's late former CEO Steve Jobs ordered that the iPhone's Maps app be developed at the very last minute, and two engineers put it together in just three weeks, according to the newspaper.

The Times got its information from a supposed former Apple engineer, though the source reportedly didn't want to be named (for obvious reasons).

Google wasn't the best choice

As 9to5Mac points out, Apple likely chose Google to provide its Maps data because the company had (and probably still has) the best data.

Apple must have been under considerable stress at this time, though, because the decision to go with Google - which purchased the Android OS a full two years prior - wound up coming back to haunt it when the iPhone 5 launched.

To be fair, at the time, Google's Android OS was considered "no major threat," even by Microsoft.

But that's clearly changed, and Apple - loathe to release yet another iPhone with a competitor's service bundled up with a bow on board - developed its own Maps app internally, unceremoniously dropping Google Maps altogether.

According to the Times' report, this decision took Google by surprise - or rather, the decision to drop Google Maps specifically at that time was surprising, since Google expected it would happen eventually (just not so soon).

Now Apple's apologizing

In light of how inferior Apple's own Maps app has turned out to be, the Cupertino tech giant has publicly apologized to its customers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook released a letter on Friday to suggest that iPhone 5 and iOS 6 users look to alternatives from Google and Microsoft while Apple works on its maps data.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers, and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook wrote.

In the meantime, it seems 24 out of every 25 iPhone 5 and iOS 6 users have taken Cook's advice and gone with an alternative to Apple's maps.

Via 9to5mac, The New York Times