Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Apple maps app under fire from users

Inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities in Apple's new map software have provoked anger from users.
In June Apple announced it would stop using Google Maps in favour of its own system, created using data from navigation specialist TomTom.

Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, which comes already installed on the new iPhone.

TomTom said it provided only data and was not responsible for how it worked.

The software is packaged with iOS6, the latest version of Apple's operating system, which runs on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Previously, the system had an app running mapping software from Google.

But users are now forced to use Apple's new maps once they upgrade or buy the latest iPhone - which goes on sale on Friday.

There is not currently a Google Maps app available in Apple's App Store, although Google's system is still accessible via the phone's web browser.

Is Apple trying to drown me?
Museum in river

Among the user complaints regarding Apple's maps sent to the BBC were:
Users have complained about the quality of satellite images in the new software (bottom)

Some towns appear to be missing, such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.

Others, like Uckfield in East Sussex, are in the wrong location.

Satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud.

A search for Manchester United Football Club directs users to Sale United Football Club, a community team for ages five and above.

Users also reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations. Another screenshot showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river.

TomTom, which also licenses data to a range of other mobile manufacturers, defended its involvement.

A spokesman told the BBC that its maps provided only a "foundation" to the service.

"The user experience is determined by adding additional features to the map application such as visual imagery," a spokesman said.

"User experience fully depends on the choices these manufacturers make.

"We are confident about our map quality, as selling 65 million portable navigation devices across the world and more than 1.4m TomTom apps for iPhone in the past two years reaffirms this quality."

Prior to the release of iOS6, several developers had expressed concerns over the capability of the mapping app, in particular its ability to find businesses via search.

Spot the difference
"This is incredibly different from using Google Maps," one Denver-based blogger wrote on 13 September.

"It's a tremendous step backwards and something that cripples iOS for Apple's customers.

"I [searched] 'iPhone Repair' and 'iPad Repair' since that's relevant to our business. The results broke my heart.

"All of the work I've put into our local recognition is completely gone."

Not exactly a "magical" experience now is it?


  1. There is no question that Google has a head start on Apple. But you know what? Apple Maps will eventually catch up. There is a link available for reporting problems to Apple right "underneath" the map.

    A rough period is the price we must pay for actual competition. Does anyone (other than Google execs and shareholders) really think it would be a good thing for Google to "own" mapping on every platform? I thought monopolies were supposed to be bad.

  2. Good job Apple - iSheep would keep buying anyway so whats the point in delivering a quality product? BTW just search for ios update issues and narrow down timeframe to past 24 hours, its funny to see all the isheep complaints.

  3. Amidst all the hysteria, it's refreshing to read a more thorough and balanced analysis of Apple's flawed Maps experience:

    Inside iOS 6: What's wrong with Apple's new Maps

  4. It's very good post, keep updating same way. Apple now utilizing its own mapping service by replacing Google maps application. Those who have upgraded their iPhone iOS versions have complained that Apple's new map service "Apple Maps"features in iOS 6 has too many geographical errors, and also missing many of the Google Maps features.

  5. There is no question that Maps data still needs lots of improvement, but at least in the USA, most users have no problem with it. And it will only get better.

    Survey: 74 percent of iOS users say Maps is fine, no issues