Nokia is set to release its own map application for iOS. Called Here, the application will be part of a wider rebranding of Nokia’s mapping product. Here won’t be completely native, as Nokia announced that it is based on HTML5. Here will include voice-guided walking directions and some measure of offline functionality, among other features. Nokia says in its press release:
To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. Based on HTML5, it will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple's App Store in the coming weeks.
There hasn’t been serious maps competition on iOS before, so these next few months, with Google and Nokia releasing competing products, and Apple fixing errors and filling in missing data, are going to be interesting to watch. It is also important to remember that despite problems faced by many, Maps on iOS are still reliable for many others. When these alternative apps from Google and Nokia do eventually launch, if they are good, iOS will have not one but three viable mapping options available.
While some might question whether or not Apple would approve these apps, remember that having three major mapping apps on iOS is good for users, and makes iOS more attractive, and as long as you’re using iOS, Apple wins.