Apple’s new mapping app was heralded as one of the stars of iOS 6, the company’s latest version of its mobile operating system, which was made available for download yesterday. However, rather than impress users, it has caused considerable upset by not performing to the standard set by Google Maps.
It’s a rare misstep for Apple, who have always appeared to pride themselves on releasing polished products to the public, and avoiding half-baked technology and software. Demonstrations at WWDC 2012 were impressive enough, and with TomTom providing location information, most people were positive about the finished product.
Sadly, it doesn’t live up to expectations, and the press is alive with negative comments. The maps lack detail, don’t feature public transport routes, are littered with errors and its headline Flyover mode is buggy and only available in certain areas. Our example picture shows where Apple Maps thinks Athens International Airport is, right in the middle of a town with the runway seemingly on a main road. Users who rely on navigation on a daily basis will be disappointed by its performance.
The situation is better if you live in America, where reports say in some places, Apple Maps is almost the same as Google Maps, but in the UK and Europe, there are large areas with almost no information at all. If you want some more examples of where Apple Maps is failing, look no further than The Amazing iOS6 Maps Tumblr blog.
Many are excusing Apple by saying it’s their first try, and that it’s a work in progress, but for a company this wealthy to release a substandard app — seemingly only because it wanted to remove all traces of Google from its operating system — borders on the unforgivable. Nobody except Apple is currently benefiting from Apple Maps, and that makes it an incredibly selfish move.
Google could well be working on a standalone Maps app for iOS, just as it has released a standalone YouTube app, but in the meantime, anyone frustrated by Apple Maps can visit maps.google.com through Safari, and add it as a web app to their homescreens using the Share button.
Apple is reportedly hiring mapping staff, and is certainly going to be hard at work perfecting the software, but making users suffer while it does so is unnecessary.