Google's top boss Eric Schmidt has dangled a golden carrot in front of Cupertino that could save its hide from its iPhone 5 mapping public relations disaster, the biggest embarrassment for Apple since it launched a phone that wasn't.
Back when the iPhone 4 launched, Apple had a slick salesman - Steve Jobs - who managed to convinced a good portion of the world that the phone's problems, that it would drop calls, were actually the user's fault. They were holding their phones the wrong way. All phones do this. Just to be on the safe side, Apple issued free rubber bands that would fix a problem the company denied the devices had. It is hard to imagine Tim Cook pulling off such a brazen maneuver.
Cook will have to do something. Never mind the expensive oblong's resolution problems or the fact its bizarre dimensions mean it can double as a cosh: minus the gushing of the nationals - erudite in their insistence that this latest phone is a faultless piece of gadgetry, that Apple is the 'coolest' brand. The mapping software in the iPhone 5 has been widely slammed, not just from reviewers but from just about everyone: the general consensus is Apple booted out a service its users were familiar with since 2007 for a cut-rate sat-nav that, in one instance, built a non-existent strip club in a residential back garden, (courtesy Reddit) or presumed to settle a long-lasting territorial dispute between China and Japan.
In the wake of this marketing nightmare, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has said the ball is now in Apple's court. He did not confirm or deny if Google had submitted a map application to Apple for approval on the app store, but he did say that it is "their choice", Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The problem is, this is Apple we are talking about. Apple's propaganda machine insists it can do no wrong, and to admit liability would be uncharacteristically open.
It seems that Apple is still being run under the late Jobs' diktat of "thermonuclear war" against Android.
Yes, there are still the die-hards who erect shantytowns outside Apple's churches to prepare for launch day, and the dedicated fans are still open to being whipped into a frenzy by blue-shirted geniuses. But people - normal people - are increasingly waking up to the walled garden that is being an Apple customer, and the company's own inadequacies shine brightest when it tries to run the show solo, as with maps. Locking out Google Maps may prove a fence too far.