Apple Maps: The FAQ

Q: Is this Apple’s Mapgate?

A: Yes.

Q: It is?

A: Most certainly is. Apple released a product which in its very first day didn’t have the coverage of Google Maps, which took about eight years to get here:

gmapsfail

Q: You’re exaggerating. Google Maps has the best user experience of any company in this business, does it not?

A: Yes it does, if you walk on water, like Google does from Alicante to Valencia in Spain:

Valencia1

Q: C’mon that must be old data.

A: Well, the map says it’s current:

Mapdate

Q: Maybe Google just didn’t get to it yet. Google Maps is in beta anyhow.

A: Yes, it must be:

Directions

Q: This is confusing.

A: No it’s not. It simply means Google Maps can and likely will get better. Just like Apple Maps.

Q: But Google Maps has been around for the better part of a decade.

A: Yes, mapping is hard.

Q: Then why did Apple kick Google Maps off the iOS platform? Wouldn’t Apple have been better off offering Google Maps even while it was building its own map app? Shouldn’t Apple have waited?

A: Waited for what? For Google to strengthen its chokehold on a key iOS service? Apple has recognized the significance of mobile mapping and acquired several mapping companies, IP assets and talent in the last few years. Mapping is indeed one of the hardest of mobile services, involving physical terrestrial and aerial surveying, data acquisition, correction, tile making and layer upon layer of contextual info married to underlying data, all optimized to serve often under trying network conditions. Unfortunately, like dialect recognition or speech synthesis (think Siri), mapping is one of those technologies that can’t be fully incubated in a lab for a few years and unleashed on several hundred million users in more than a 100 countries in a “mature” state. Thousands of reports from individuals around the world, for example, have helped Google correct countless mapping failures over the last half decade. Without this public exposure and help in the field, a mobile mapping solution like Apple’s stands no chance.

Q: So why not keep using a more established solution like Google’s?

A: Clearly, no one outside Mountain View and Cupertino can say who’s forced the parties to come to this state of affairs. Did Google, for example, want to extract onerous concessions from Apple involving more advertising leeway, user data collection, clickstream tracking and so on? Thanks to the largest fine in FTC’s history Google had to pay (don’t laugh!), we already know how desperate Google is for users’ data and how cavalier it is with their privacy. Maybe Apple didn’t like Google’s terms, maybe it was the other way around, perhaps both parties agreed it was best to have two separate apps available…we don’t know. After well-known episodes with Microsoft, Adobe and others, what we do know is that Apple has a justifiable fear of key third parties dictating terms and hindering its rate of innovation. It’s thus understandable why Apple would want to wrest control of its independence from its chief rival on its most important product line.

Q: Does Apple have nothing but contempt for its users?

A: Yes, Apple’s evil. When Apple barred Flash from iOS, Flash was the best and only way to play .swf files. Apple’s video alternative, H.264, wasn’t nearly as widely used. Thus Apple’s solution was “inferior” and appeared to be against its own users’ interests. Sheer corporate greed! Trillion words have been written about just how misguided Apple was in denying its users the glory of Flash on iOS. Well, Flash is now dead on mobile. And yet the Earth’s obliquity of the ecliptic is still about 23.4°. We seemed to have survived that one.

Q: So all you’re saying is that Apple Maps was rushed out the door even though it wasn’t quite ready?

A: As they say, every turn-by-turn direction starts with the first step. The longer Apple waits the harder it gets. From iPods to iTunes to iPhones to iOS, Apple’s modus operandi has been to introduce products and continuously improve them into widely attractive maturity by adding value without increasing prices, enlarging ecosystems, deepening integration and generally delighting users with a constant stream of innovations. With a user base fast approaching half a billion and thousands waiting in line to buy its latest product at this very moment, we empirically know this to be true. Why should Apple Maps be any different?

284 thoughts on “Apple Maps: The FAQ

  1. It’s not so much about Google improving their maps, or Apple improving their maps, as it is about Apple replacing a product with many widely used features with a product that doesn’t even have a small fraction of those features, and many parts of the few features it did retain either don’t work or are so otherwise inaccurate that they’re unusable.

    Couple this with Apple’s opposition to any kind of reverse migration path – meaning you can never undo software upgrades – and it’s easy to see how so many people suddenly feel ditched. Does it actually say in the EULA for iOS 6 that by getting an iPhone 5 or upgrading to iOS 6 that you’re going to lose 80% of the usability of the mapping app? If it does, is it actually pointed out to the consumer? Most people are not going to expect that with an overall upgrade.

    THAT, frankly, as anyone who works in software knows, is utterly unacceptable.

    • 80% usability loss? Really? Many people have found usability increases.

      The inability to downgrade I’m with you. The rest is hooey. The software industry – I’ve been in it since 1975 – has operated the way you say is unacceptable since at least then. How many times have I seen an update or upgrade make a workflow completely stop. Not just a perceived loss of features, but bring work to a complete halt.

    • If someone thinks Apple Maps is an inferior map system, and has a iOS device, than they should quit gripping and not use the application. Just, download Google earth or one of the other mapping solutions and don’t judge a product based on one crumby addition to their software.

  2. You make a fair point but I think you underestimate how bad the Maps product is *outside the US.*

    My last 10 Mapps app queries in Hong Kong have resulted in 8 times with absolutely nothing returned and twice I’ve been directed to a location several thousand miles from my current location.

    • HUGE generalisation you are making there.

      I think you underestimate how bad Google Maps can be *outside the US* as well.

      In some areas of Australia, Apple Maps completely beats the pants off of Google Maps. In most areas, it is merely equal. In some cases Google Maps is far better. In my area, Apple Maps is superior in most cases. Inside the major CBD areas, Google Maps does generally have better POI info though.

    • I have experienced Hong Kong, Japan, and the US. Apple lacks the POI data to find major landmarks, buildings, etc. in HK & JP…ALL of which were in Google Maps.
      In the US it was much less of a noticeable difference.

      I’m glad to hear Australia doesn’t have this issue. However, it begs the question: why roll this out globally when different geographies are at different levels of finish? Maybe it made sense to roll Maps out in the US & Australia. It did not make sense to roll it out in other places.

    • That’s a fair question, but I think the same could be said about Google Maps as it was very lacking outside of the US when it was first launched (and still is in some cases). Yet, it’s always been and always will be, the default map app on all Android devices.

    • Two differences:
      1) what else was available at the time. Maps is replacing a superior solution in many locations.
      2) Android allows you to change your default mapping application whereas iOS does not. If Apple had made this app the default but I could still choose to open links with Google Maps, I wouldn’t care one bit.

    • We don’t know the terms that Google put forward to Apple in renewing the licensing for Google Maps. Given that fact, we have no idea if keeping GMaps was even tenable for Apple.

      The fact that Google seems to have no desire to make a map app for iOS – that would apparently do very well based on the comments on this and other sites – is very telling. Don’t you think?

      And, I doubt Apple could reject a Google Map submission from the App Store without significant consumer backlash especially after already publicly recommending alternatives and giving an apology for their maps app not living up to the marketing hype.

    • The GMaps deal went for another year so there was no need to pull the plug prematurely for the geos where Apple Maps is no good.

  3. Damn dude, you are truly a fanboy in the purest sense of the word. People with your way of thinking allow dictators and religious clerics to stay in power defending any and everything they do no matter how wacky their actions.

  4. Who the hell says flash is dead on mobile? I use it constantly for web video and sometimes even games and it still is quite important where some sites have no alternate content other than flash.

    Just because some hipster decided that his iphone is fine without flash because he wants it to be doesn’t make it true.

    Should the web get rid of flash? Probably yes. Is there still flash content and therefore a need for a flash player? Definitely.

    Let’s talk again when all websites are flash free.

    • You know, if you weren’t such a condescending asshole we could actually have a conversation. But, seeing how you completely ignored my arguments and just pasted me a link about the future of the web, I can see that wouldn’t be possible either.

    • You claimed Flash wasn’t dead on mobile. You were wrong. I let the vendor speak to you directly: there’s no future for Flash on iOS or anywhere else. It’s dead. There are no “other arguments”. If facts hurt your feelings, there’s not much I can do.

    • Actually, Kontra, you’re wrong. Did you bother to read the Adobe’s press statement in the article that you linked? All Adobe said is that it’s discontinuing development of Flash Player for mobile with HTML5 being supported by more and more devices. That means that imbedded video content will be delivered using the HTML5 standard. It never said it was killing Flash for mobile. It said that it was focusing on Flash through Adobe AIR for programs and native apps. So mobile devices will still use Flash, it’ll just be packaged in apps (i.e. YouTube app, etc.) and not in a Flash Player browser plugin. Try reading before you open your mouth next time.

  5. To be clear, here in Australia, in Melbourne, in the eastern suburbs, the most established suburbs of Melbourne, Apple Maps DOES NOT WORK. In just a few days, it has taken me to wrong locations and down dead end streets. My perfect iphone 4s in the latest upgrade has lost one of its strongest features and now lacks seamless integration.Today was the last tiime I will try apple maps and will from now on be using the non-integrated mapping alternatives. I will never ever ever share my data with apple regarding mapping and i will never ever ever again recommend an apple product to family or friend. Even though I use their products and will continue to do as long as they produce the best electronic consumer products in the class, they have rubbed me up the wrong way by forcing this turd of a product on me.This is not 2007, so you cant say “it will improve just like google maps did”. I dont care, I bought the iphone 4s with an amazing diamond of a mapping application, and they have ripped it away from me and replaced it with a Cubic zirconia
    Apple has released a beta product and whatever their corporate reasoning is has nothing to do with the user experience which is now lacking.
    Unfortunately, the Android phones dont appeal to me at this point in time, so i will be stuck with this dog of a mapping app. Hopefully a jailbreak will come along and solve this problem. Im ashamed to say, as a result of the behavior of Apple on this issue, ill be dancing on the grave of this company if they fall the way of other greats that came and fell before them.

    • It works just fine for me here in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Used it today as a matter of fact to get myself unlost after I thought I knew where a turnoff was and missed it – by a couple of KM.

      In fact, the Apple Maps are more up to date for many locations around here including my house built in early 2011 that doesn’t exist on GMaps (or the street) even though their map data says “2012″. Then there was the time for a whole year where GMaps was still directing people down a road that had been closed for over 12 months while a Peninsula Link overpass was being built. GMaps finally caught up a couple of weeks before the road re-opened – kudos, Google.

    • 122 Hawthorn Road Caulfield was off by a block. It took me close to the corner of Glen Ira road when in fact it was located near the corner of Balaclava Road. I only detailed this so you can look it up. But just because you have had a good experience with it, it doesnt prove that the rest of us have not. I never ever once had this issue in 3 years with google maps, not anywhere up and down the east coast of australia, not anywhere in all of indonesia, and not anywhere in singapore. In just one week, apple maps has failed on numerous occasions. And from what ive read from the experts in the field, it will take a good amount of time for apple maps to get anywhere near what google maps is today. Im glad it worked for you, but way too unreliable for me. And im being kind here in simply calling it unreliable, its a toy of an application and no power user will be able to rely on it in the way many obviously rely on google maps as their sole mapping app.

    • My point is that you have overstated your case against Apple Maps by saying it “DOES NOT WORK” when that is clearly not the case. It apparently hasn’t worked as well for YOU in some areas in SE suburbs of Melbourne. For me, it has so far (and the turn by turn is an improvement over GMaps for me). And GMaps has failed me several times in the past 3 years, but overall has been premtty good. Flawless? No. Again, I think you overstate how good GMaps is by saying it has NEVER been wrong on 3 continents.

      Some less biased opinions and testing have shown Apple Maps to be quite good in direct comparison to GMaps, with some rough edges in a few places, but also some better results than GMaps in some. These comparisons are in the US, but I haven’t seen any non-biased comparisons for Australia yet.

      http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2012/09/smart-phone-navigation-showdown-apple-ios6-vs-google-android.html

      http://gizmodo.com/5944960/apple-maps-vs-google-maps-a-side-by-side-iphone-comparison

    • i just love this “fake” owners…. and these fake stories about not having google maps… a real owner realizes in about the first 3 seconds that Google maps is still on the iPhone…

      it takes them all of a moment to find Google maps where it always was, on the internet at a website… even better you can download the web app if you wish too, but that is unnecessary because you can create the app from that website in another 3 seconds…

      that is what is particularly “challenged” about this guy’s blog… seriously people… catch a clue…

      iPhone users literally lost nothing, THEY GAINED TURN BY TURN…. a very good turn by turn for it’s first iteration… once more, i guarantee you it will soon be better than Google’s… because Apple will throw money at it, until it is leaps and bounds better.

    • They won’t throw money at it, although they have lots of that, which they have already spent acquiring PlaceBase, Poly9 and C3 Technilogies, as well as the licensing deals with Tom-Tom, Waze, OpenStreetMaps and co etc – they will iterate improvements to gradually refine it into a stellar product.

      When I compare my iPhone 5 running iOS 6.0 to the original handset that shocked the world in 2007, I just smile and “pop my collar”, knowing that I have bet on the right platform despite all the horse manure being peddled about here and elsewhere in the Blogosphere…

    • konkh: “iPhone users literally lost nothing, THEY GAINED TURN BY TURN”

      Yea? Use Google maps for Turn by Turn. How’d that work? If you’re using Turn by Turn, you’re stuck with Apple’s poor attempt at emulating Google.

      konkh: “because Apple will throw money at it, until it is leaps and bounds better.”

      Yea, because Apple hasn’t already thrown billions at it to get this far (as pathetic as it is), and because Google is sitting on their laurels not improving their own offering every day.

    • konkh Says: :
      “it takes them all of a moment to find Google maps where it always was, on the internet at a website… even better you can download the web app if you wish too, but that is unnecessary because you can create the app from that website in another 3 seconds…”

      You are completely off in your assertion. The google app that was present in ios5 was fully integrated with all the applications on the phone. The web application is not and the web application is much more fidgety and cumbersome to use on such a small screen. It is of no comparison to the application that existed in ios5. As a power user of the mapping application, i have lost one of the core features of the phone that i had paid for. Most applications for me are simply toys and distractions and are not used. The map app is used on multiple times daily. The Apple application is a toy good for someone who lives and goes to work on a regular route daily and takes the occasional trip to an unfamiliar territory. The google app that existed in ios5 was an application I’d relied on for the last 3 years without fail in 3 continents in both rural and urban environments.

      In short, iphone users lost an application that was up to standard with the brilliance the iphone is, and gained a toy of an application that can not be relied on at all. Turn by turn navigation is useless if its guiding you to the wrong destination time and time again.

    • I’m gonna have to say (especially after this experience–that is, using this new Map App on iPhone)… all “smartphones” suck in one way or another.

      The whole point of this wasn’t to start opinionated flaming wars between devout droid or iphone users… the point is that iPhone’s new Map App has gravely disappointed many of their regular users who depended on more accurate and more relevant data.

      I’ve never owned a droid, so I have no right to say whether it is or isn’t any good. However, I’ve had every gen of iPhone (except the newest 5) and I’ve had very little issues. Until now. So I’m officially on the fence.

    • Don’t be ridiculous, I’ve been using google maps for years and it works quite well. It calculates public transport directions. Im sure you can find some glitches if you look hard enough. \

      I just checked the route your talking about Alicante to Valencia and it doesn’t direct me through the ocean anyway. they have fixed what you were talking about.

      Apple maps doesn’t even detect my street. It doesn’t have mapping data for Australia yet. its completely unusable.

    • ——– How can he say such bad things? ————–

      the same way they “Apple” said such bad things about:

      flash gate, (which later turned out to be that Apple was correct about flash)…

      and antenna gate, (which actual iphone owners figured out was actually non existent)….

      and what actual iPhone users are finding out quite quickly about map gate:… that Apple maps is not nearly as bad as the fandroids make it out to be… and better yet, that real iphone users find that google maps is still on the iPhone, where it always was, on the internet, and if they want a separate app for google maps, it takes them all of 3 seconds to create that web app.

      so like flash gate: and Antenna gate: it is better to be correct in the end, and it is that much sweeter when you look back at all the same extremely “challenged” news stories about flash gate… and Antenna gate… and realize it is just normal human nature to want to hate on change… but hey… that is human nature, not what is really neat about going forward into the future.

    • —————-
      Don’t be ridiculous, I’ve been using google maps for years and it works quite well.
      ————————-

      that is exactly … literally… what FanDroid’s had been saying about Flash…. guess what happened there….

      and while Google fixes their mistakes, so is Apple… they also don’t need to update the app to fix some mistakes.

  6. So the obvious solution would have been to release Apple Maps as a separate App first. If you need to release Beta software to the public, and need their feedback in order to improve it, let people volunteer first – Do not foist it on every user, whether it is ready or not.

    Perhaps Apple’s biggest mistake was selling Apple Maps as a equal in quality Google Maps. This is early Beta software. Apple’s lack of warning to users comes across like they weren’t even aware just how lacking their software actually was.

    The fact that they’re only NOW advertising for people to help sort out of this mess is another indicator that Apple thought their product was good enough.

    Something important has been forgotten in the MapGate, too: It’s not just the user inputted data that’s missing, it’s Public Transportation information, too. There is no excuse for their new maps not having this as standard. The third party solutions currently provided are a horrible, terrible, joke.

  7. Nobody here (that I’ve read) has commented on one of the most important factors in the switch: vector versus pixel. The vector based engine on the iPhone will certainly save battery life and respond much better to user input, whether connected to WiFi or not. This makes it a much better alternative for turn by turn, since nobody gets WiFi on the highway. I think it sucks that I lose access to transit information so I see how soon untiil the next bus or subway comes, but I expect in time they will figure a way to blend that in. Also Google Maps transit coverage was not up to the minute and failed to take intangibles like track work or service interruption into account. The ideal solution will eventually be far more current and reliable than used to exist for iOS 5.

    • Ah, yes, this bit of true information with fuzzy implications that started with Daniel Dilger,

      Google maps as a map service has been using vector images for quite some time (over a year? It isn’t clear.) That’s what you see in Google Maps in a browser and on Android phones. The iOS Maps app, though, was never modified to use the available vector data. That was likely more Apple’s choice than Google’s.

      So while it’s quite true that moving from a pixel to vector representation is a step forward for the iOS Maps apps as they actually exists, it isn’t an argument for Apple to replace Google as a source for map data.

  8. Al Maps (Google, Apple) are pretty useless, unless you use the power of local people that can provide you with accurate data of locations a.s.o. Relying on algorithms alone is pretty stupid.

  9. Apple needs to hire some fact-checkers…

    The capital city is spelled wrong, street names are gone, clouds. Red Square is missing? Navigation that sends you in the wrong direction, black holes, …

    Hethro Airport is WHERE?

    How did this happen? Never Never Never release a half-baked solution and charge a premium. If they weren’t ready, they should have waited.

    • Did you even bother to read the article at all? Exactly what “premium” was charged for this app?

      Stop being butt-hurt and give them half a chance to collect user data and make updates.

    • Really, Steve?

      AT&T shows the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII (one of the best Android phones, since a comparison with some generic no-name running Android 2 is … shall we say, unfair?) at the same $199 subsidized starting price.

      I don’t know what world you live in where a top-end Android phone is substantially cheaper than an iPhone – or where bottom-end freebie-phones are “rivals”.

  10. Below is a post from another forum which i thought I would copy here just as an example of how felow iPhone users are coping with the new maps in the UK.

    Enjoy.

    I like so many other people am posting up about the new Apple Maps that have been forced upon us. I’ve been aware of the major mistakes on the news, ie misplaced towns and railway stations but I think there is a bigger problem that isn’t being as well addressed. That is the massive amount of small scale data that is missing all together. Over the last two hours I’ve been testing a few places I know very well and had some really shocking results. I live in Sale (Manchester) and we are lucky to have lots of nice restaurants and coffee shops. Out of the six long established coffee shops only one appears on Apple maps! Out of all the many restaurants (40+) six appear. Also many businesses that are on the map with the icons Apple have used are in completely the wrong place.

    So I also did a search for pubs in a place called Longridge I know very well and out of the ten pubs one appears as a result but if you zoom in a further three can be seen using the icons. I have also noticed that the M60 doesn’t have any junction numbers which made travelling to a venue on Saturday difficult, I ended up looking at Googlemaps through the safari browser but ofc it’s now sluggish and difficult to use as its not integrated.

    So if Apple maps perform as bad as this across the UK then it’s no even close to being as reliable as I’d need it to be, I just don’t feel I can trust what it’s telling me and that’s the worst situation to be in when you rely on a map to get around so much.

    I am a huge fan of Apple products but am very aware they are not perfect, but even with the no flash support thing, you know there is a reason behind what they are trying to do. However for the first time in a long time I’m now wondering what the hell Apple are playing at. Surely they must know how bad this software is right? I would love to know how it all panned out, ie did Apple get pushed by Google or did they jump? I mean its just insane, Google Maps is already doing everything the customer want so why not carry on using them? Are Apple so stubborn that they would rather nobble every one of their loyal customers than hold hands with Google. I don’t know, if anyone out there has any info on what actually happened here then please post up.

    As far as I can see Apple Maps is nowhere near ready (although the 3D cities are very nice) and so I’m really hoping they realise this isn’t on.

  11. This post is mostly focused on turn by turn directions instead of what the core of the problem is.
    The map back-end that Apple is using is extremely inaccurate when compared to almost any existing mapping service available today.

    • A blanket statement that Apple Maps it is extremely innacurrate is a crock. The back-end data being used is from TomTom.

      Again, let me state that at least for our area, Apple Maps is working better in MOST cases than GMaps. In some other locations it is apparently worse, so choose your poison. But, try to find my house using GMaps (web, iOS, or Android) and you’ll never find it or any of the other 150 houses that have been here for over two years.

    • Try typing “iPhone maps problems” into google and see how many results you get.

      I think you are in a serious state of denial.

    • I don`t think that point will be appreciated by the majority here. The fact that Apple utterly failed to prepare for a situation all of their own making is completely lost on most of these people.

      It will be interesting to see how sales of the phone (and its competitors) fare when more reports of maps issues and scratched cases start to surface in the people’s minds. Far from a good launch – but will anyone punish them for it with lost sales ? That remains to be seen.

    • People have a mob mentality is all that will really prove. Besides, I didn’t say Apple Maps had no problems. The problems it does have are being greatly exaggerated though. It’s a storm in teacup.

      And has been pointed out, it’s easy enough to install a GMap web clip at any time. There are many other apps out there for navigation as well.

      A last point – Google has known for more than 6 months at least that they were being dropped as the default map app on iOS6 – so why no GMaps app from Google to allow them to capitalize on this “opportunity” – because Google are no Boy Scouts and you’re witnessing gloves off competition between Google and Apple. In the (very) short term this hurts consumers, but in the very near term it’s a big positive – because competition is GOOD.

    • I find it extremely telling that all we seem to be getting posted on this forum is a smear of Google Maps and denial that there is any real issue with Apple`s half baked offering.

      Just a bunch of iApologists, who are not capable of independent thought. What a great advert you are for your religion.

      Go and read some posts from disgruntled iOS 6 users and tell them they are making it up.

    • @Steve So, I could do that or I could go speak to:

      1. Some disgruntled Blackberry owners (http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/business-it/free-apps-for-disgruntled-blackberry-users-20111018-1ltxr.html), or

      2. Random Android owners who can’t upgrade to the latest Android release (http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/15/3023119/android-device-diversity-fragmentation-chart) or,

      3. Those owners of the Motorola Droid Bionic who got a raw deal (http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/22/motorola-feels-droid-bionic-owners-pain-promises-to-fix-things/)…

      4. Then, hey Nokia has that iPhone killer that doesn’t exist yet and which they made fraudulent ads about (http://hbstr.com/Stock/Nokia-Lumia-920-advertising-fraud-to-apologize-8921.html#.UGBNYJEayK0) and were sued because of their claims about how Windows phone would dramatically turn around their business and clean up the competition last year (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2403989,00.asp)

      And I could go on and on. Or, I could live life a bit more positively and not complain about every little thing in the world that I can possibly find to complain about.

      The real facts are, the iPhone 5 is one of the very best smartphones ever made, and iOS 6 is a very polished OS overall. Some Android phones are also nice, and some of them have some great features not found in the iPhone. Windows Phone also has some very nice (and original) features that may suit some people better than an iPhone. If the Nokia Lumia 920 is even half as good as Nokia claims (remains to be seen), then it will be a very good smart phone as well.

      Now, stop making a mountain out of a molehill, and stop complaining about something you obviously don’t even use since apparently all iPhone users are “iApologists”…

  12. I don’t think it is relevant to compare Flash with Maps. Maps are not broken but Flash was and only developers who did not like Flash not being in devices was Flash developers. Abandoning Flash had technical arguments and support developer community.

    • You are revising history. Developers – especially cross-platform web developers – were not supporting dropping Flash…quite the opposite.

      However, I do sort of agree with you, but from a different angle. HTML5 at the time was not nearly as complete and supported worldwide as it is now. So not supporting Flash did have a bit of a negative effect on user, for the short-term. As we can see from short history, that has greatly changed.

      I expect the same from Maps in the regard that it will quickly get better and this will all be history.

      BTW…maps is broken. Google’s data, while probably the best in the industry, at the moment, is nowhere near perfect. It only recently has been able to get within a quarter of a mile of my home – a suburban area that has been around since 1978 (for my street). And I often check any directions I get from Google (or any other mapping service) against at least one other because they all make many mistakes.

  13. I’ve been using the iOS 6 turn by turn feature for several days and several long drives here in Pennsylvania, USA with no problems. The criticisms seem a bit exaggerated, but … your mileage may vary.
    My only frustration has been with Siri, for example asking, “Give me directions to in ” and it understanding every word perfectly, but still not finding the place, but giving me a list of possibilities, one of which IS the exact name and place I asked for. Why couldn’t it pick the right one out? Very strange….
    (And by the way, Maps on iOS 5 did NOT work perfectly fine before… and it didn’t have turn-by-turn.)

    • Interestingly, the view from Australia is almost unanimously and extremely positive, i.e. a big improvement over Google Maps, which apparently never provided transit data there.

      I have also noticed (I’m in the UK) that for the first time in 4 years, my current position at home as referenced by the GPS blue dot is at last back from across a motorway in a little park 150 yards away, and now is just outside my window.

      I initially thought the street address iMaps gave for me was inaccurate, but looking out of my computer room window, it is by at least 50 yards the nearest street to my Mac and iPhones; though my official address is different, it is a street that is at least another 100 yards away from my large block of flats, which is one among many.

      And so I have since found that the “corrections” I sent to Apple using “Report A Problem” are in fact wrong, probably a knee-jerk reaction to the chorus of suspiciously orchestrated disapproval currently making the rounds in the blogosphere.

      Given a little more time, this will probably subside, just like AntennaGate did…

  14. Something to consider…..
    Apple leanched a massive salvo of litigation, against Android manufacturers. The late Steve jobs, was determined to make Android (aka Google) pay for copying his and his companies work.
    Apple at the time was dependent on google for mapping services. It doesn`t take a rocker scientist to work out that Google was not going to be prepared to allow to use their maps in this new environment of aggessive litigation.

    So. The question. Why did apple not start working hard on delivering a good replacement for google maps sooner?

    this is a company with the ability to throw tens of billions of dollars at a problem, should they chose to.

    They seem to have chosen to put out an inferior maps service on a premium device. Let the customer suffer first, in sacrifice for the corporate objectives.

    Sadly, I don`t think anyone else on this board is objective enough to appreciate these points.

    • So, you think just throwing enough money at Apple Maps was the answer? How has just throwing money at something worked out for any other problems in the world?

      You know the ironic thing here is it wasn’t that long ago (3 years max) that people were complaining about the accuracy of Google Maps and how it would lead you into trouble, such as down dead-end streets or into rivers, when used on smartphones (Android included). And public transport on Gmaps wasn’t so hot here in Oz even as recent as last week. I wouldn’t trust it.

    • I find it curious that no-one seems to have remarked on the fact that the maps back-end for the new app has been provided by an erstwhile App Store competitor adversely affected by Apple’s offering of turn-by-turn voice commands and graphics, despite the proliferation of “thermonuclear” conspiracy theories here which all appear to be one-sidedly directed at Apple’s door.

      This is becoming too similar to Antennagate for my liking; attenuation proved to be a general phenomenon that all mobile handsets were susceptible to; YMMV or not, it increasingly appears that much is being made of a general muchness all over again.

      Time will tell…

    • Why did apple not start working hard on delivering a good replacement for google maps sooner?

      Sooner being when?

      They’ve been buying mapping/geodata companies for years now.

      (PlaceBase in July of 2009, over three years ago, and closer to the introduction of the first iPhone than now! And they’re partnering with TomTom, too, which has been doing standalone navigation systems for years.)

    • Steve, I couldn’t agree more with you. You are very objective here… and I don’t understand how or why anyone else could not see these clear points that you are making.

      My thoughts: Upon using the new Apple-Map App via iOS6 and without having read anything at all (blogs, reviews, etc.) re the lackluster performance of the Apple Map App for iOS6, I was immediately dissatisfied with and most definitely shocked at the experience I had (and have had) with this change.

      An argument about balance between the corporation’s product reputation suffering the consequence of too early a release vs waiting too long while the competitions’ map services grow larger and more reliable can only go so far: as I would argue the point that part of the element of evolution is change.

      Although change doesn’t always require progress, a platform of products that contain a very integral part of its usefulness (i.e. tool, not toy), we should absolutely have expected Apple to have invested more time, money, manpower, and expertise *before* releasing and integrating this App.

      We need to differentiate between the expected criticism over change (in itself) vs the large and growing backlash due to a clearly lackluster/poor performing product.

      That said, this may be one of the biggest failures (IMO) that Apple has created.

  15. John: could we please dispose with the “cool” argument? Lots of kids I see on buses has iPhones, most taxi drivers have iPhones, my hair dresser has an iPhone, the guy who delivered my flowers had an iPhone, our receptionist has an iPhone. I’m all for arguing about the merits of iPhone vs Android vs Windows 8, but the argument “I’m cool because/therefore I have an iPhone” is rapidly becoming ridiculous.

    • You are missing the point or… I didn’t explain myself. The argument is that some people are leaving this ridiculous controversy as “look vs inside” and they are living it, on top of that, in the field of technology where, for good or bad, a lot of the “it’s what inside that matters” found refuge. Thus, the iphone seems insulting to them: the popular kids have them and they can even claim that it’s technologically better.
      Now, as your comment shows, by assuming that delivery people or receptionists cannot be cool, snobbery is crucial to this mentality. It’s just relegated to the comments, though…

    • John: Your description of Android users may be true for a small group (who I haven’t met personally, but I don’t have an iPhone). I have met iPhone users, though, who act like cliche “fanbois”. These are in no way indicative of the larger majority of iPhone users, and I would never go around using “fanboi” as an argument in a discussion. That’s just trolling – trying to use smears instead of arguments.

      I am sorry, though, if anyone saw my post as being snobbish towards any professions – I did not mean it that way. I was just going through normal people that I had seen using an iPhone the last week in order to say that it is not exactly unusual anymore. You don’t need to do more than shell out the money – any mobile operator will sell you one. (And no, I don’t think that Android phones make people cool, either. My standards are somewhat higher.)

  16. Google Apps is clearly so much better, not. Google Maps shows an empty field where our subdivision has been for nearly three years, and our street doesn’t even exist in GMaps. Apple Maps on the other hand shows the streets and all of the houses.

    This isn’t limited to this one instance. Most of the Google maps data around here (Victoria, Australia) is many years old except for the maps of The city centres, which IS better in GMaps. That will probably change pretty soon though.

    And don’t forget the biggest reason Apple did this that Google withheld features in their apps (GMaps, Gapps) such as turn-by-turn nav that they made available on Android – Google is no Boy Scout in this whole deal.

    • Google maps app on iPhones was developed by Apple, not Google. Apple never updated their app. That’s not google’s fault. If you know how to research about it, then you can.

    • @prp – I didn’t say anything about GMaps on the iPhone. These issues occur on Gmaps on the web, on the iPhone, on Android. – you name it. I stated Gmaps worked better in the cities (for the moment).

      If you weren’t trying so hard to be such a jerk, you might have some brainpower left over for thinking and considering the possibility GMaps isnt anywhere close to perfect(esp. In Oz), rather than just flaming and annoying people.

    • Uh Brad, prp was just responding to your last paragraph where you stated that one of the reasons that Apple started its own map app was that Google was withholding features. Prp said that Apple was responsible for not including those features on iOS, not Google. Apple didn’t update it’s app while it was using Google map data. He might have been a jerk about it, but his comment was correct.

    • Sorry I didn’t respond at 3am last night guys. Had to get to bed to get up for work. Anyway, I read your article and specifically in regards to the actual TOS portion included, it looks like Google would have let Apple use turn by turn nav if they had gotten a license for it….

      “Except as explicitly permitted in Section 8 (Licenses from Google to You) or the Maps APIs Documentation, you must not (nor may you permit anyone else to) do any of the following:”

      And like the article also goes on to say, we’ll probably never know for sure, but to me, it seems like Apple and Google are both at fault for the old maps. Maybe it will turn out best for both companies now?

  17. For some folks, it appears that Maps app is the single most important app on their iPhones…so why upgrade your OS the day it’s available? Wouldn’t you want to be sure that the one app critical to your happiness with the product would perform as you expect? Just a few hours of patience would have saved you untold grief. And, didn’t you back-up before upgrading the OS? In which case, you would be able to restore to iOS5. And, did you have to pre-order or buy iPhone5 on first day? Again, a little patience could save grief.

    • Yet no public indication that this is true. Or did you miss the kerfuffle with magazine publishers because Apple refused to let users data be collected indiscriminately?

    • I agree. Apple is after your data. However, it is the what will happen after they get it that matters. Google and Facebook make money selling your data to others. Apple makes their money using your data to make their products better so that you will buy/continue to buy them.

  18. Empirically, the data set Apple is using for everything but POIs is far superior to Google’s. (There’s a reason that TeleNav is licensed by entities like Ford and the federal government for a whole lot of money when Google’s is much cheaper). The POI stuff will improve quickly as users report issues, and in the meantime, all the other data is *better*.

    I’d like any of the sudden experts who think otherwise to gather some empirical data and present it. Until then, you just sound like a bunch of hysterical, bed-wetting ignoramuses.

    Signed, GIS guy

    • Agreed. Apple will quickly iterate Maps to a higher quality product. They have the money, resources and intent to get this done right. Nothing brings out the fandroids, crazies and fools then an opportunity to bash Apple for nothing.

    • So are you trying to make the point that Google Maps is always accurate? There is nothing “completely wrong” about this post. I can tell you from my own experiences that Google Maps isn’t even close to perfect and that they seem to have some serious issues with the Seattle area. Incorrectly labelled exits off some of the major highways in King County being a huge one and something that has led me off on the wrong path many, many times. So even if you can nitpick the examples the author cites, the point is still true. Google Maps is not the perfection many claim it is when assailing Apple’s attempt.

    • He doesn’t have an iPhone. He is clearly a droid. As most of his fellow travellers who write in the comment sections of blogs, he has a cheap knock off from some company, but he insists it’s the cool gadget because it’s not an iPhone. He was told, all of the sudden, that technology was cool. Since he is not cool, he has to say that the cool kids don’t understand technology because they only care about looks. In the hope that his beloved will see that looks are not important, what is inside is. The iPhone becomes a projection of the good looking kids who get what they want, but are shallow, flawed, closed and aggressive. He is a droid: open, substantial and almost as good looking. He can certainly be friendzoned and used for tech support.

  19. I have never used Goole Maps for navigation and will probably treat Apple Maps the same way.

    I bought Navigon Europe on the day it was released and have it installed on my iPhone & iPad — you know, a dedicated navigation solution to get from A to B in my car.

    • I love Navigon. The feature set is incredible. I have toyed with iOS 6 navigation and it is absolutely free and it excels at letting me pick a point of interest or address quickly (Navigon’s worst part) and routing me to it, but it lacks things on Navigon that I love:

      - Night mode: Color change so as not to wear out your eyes during night driving

      - Active Lane Assist: Live animation of lanes with indication of what lane you should be in and be going to for an upcoming turn

      - Route preferences: Allow/Avoid/Forbid on toll roads, ferries, resident-only-streets, and HOV lanes.

      - On-board Maps: A must when camping or hiking or even skiing/snow-boarding someplace remote. Not even Verizon has coverage in some places.

      - Panorama Mode 3D: Total eye candy and not as good as “Fly Over”, but 100% on-board data so no usage of cellular.

      - Navteq Maps: Navteq provides great maps. Again, not perfect, but it has always been superior to TomTom/TeleAtlas in my usage over the last three years.

      Optional Navigon features that I have not bought (in-app purchase):

      - Cockpit mode (for pilots)

      - Public Transit

      - Radar Info/Traffic Camera warnings

      All in all, Navigon is a great routing solution that just needs a better way to select destinations. SInce I paid for Navigon in 2009 and the updates keep coming, then I will likely keep using it (at least until Apple adds “night mode” and “on-board maps” cacheing).

    • @BC2009 makes good points. For many of the same reasons I use Waze, plus the community that allows for very quick reports on traffic conditions by other Wazers. I do wish that Apple had purchased Waze so that it could roll a lot of its features into Maps.

    • Absolutely correct. Misrepresentation of Google maps. It clearly says in Beta, though it was used as an example. Apple maps are not in beta.

    • Google slaps the “beta” label on nearly every product they have. How long was Gmail in “beta”? Did it stop them from pushing these products into widescale production? No.

      Beta is just Google’s CYA legal strategy in the hopes of minimizing liability when something goes wrong.

    • Is that ferry the only route between point A and B on that map? Certainly looks to be quite a bit out of ones way…

  20. You missed the most important question in your FAQ. Why should I – as the customer – care about any of this?

    With iOS 5 I had the best available mobile apps solution (I don’t say it was flawless). After I updated to iOS 6 I now have the worst available mobile apps solution. I am not interested in explanations why this had to happen.

    • Hans, exactly! And please (to all others on this forum, thus far), don’t call his statement one of contentment for ignorance. He is right in saying that as an end-user, all we know is that we *had* an (if not excellent), good-working map-app… and now, clearly an underperforming, lackluster, clusterf#@% of an app for map/gps/info (dis-)integrated.

    • @ Eric H. Perhaps it is lackluster for you. I find it works as well if not better than the Google database I was using previously. Perfect? No. But then neither was Google’s database.

    • @ J Scott,
      Apparently there are very mixed results for performance, even within one’s own country or territory. So I agree with your thoughts here. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I was implying it was “perfect”. Perfect certainly wouldn’t describe any map service for that matter.

  21. Funny how the excuses start flying for these flops….its just going to take time to fix…but when Android has features that Apple is lacking, Apple is making it a more unique human experience…..

  22. I can’t believe you are comparing Google maps to FLASH. Flash was bloatware, it needed to die.

    Google maps is much much better than apple Maps.

    Unfortunately Apple made this decision to the detriment of user experience unlike the decision they made about Flash. It was completely corporate politics and money.

    • I imagine three years ago you would have said “Flash is much much better than “.

      Seriously, in three years time, it’s likely you won’t know the difference.

  23. Apple is a paradox when it comes to user experience. On the one hand delivering a user interface so sublime that my doddering, computer illiterate ole dad can adopt an iPhone without a single call to his tech savvy son. Miracle is too tame a word.

    On the other hand…

    Apple maps, upgrade to iOS 6 and you’re in, without having made a choice and there’s no going back. Using Google Maps via a web browser instead of an app is not a real choice.

    Google Voice, the “app for that” was too long delayed and using it via a mobile web browser gave the user about a tenth of GV’s functionality.

    AT&T was the sole wireless provider for way too long. Love the phone Steve, but really, really wish I didn’t have to call everyone twice when the call drops.

    No Flash for you, you don’t need to see that animation. Uh yes I do and I’d like to make my own decisions about such things.

    Item’s two and three are what compelled me to retire my iPhone and move into the Android world.

    Apple begot Android then they compelled me to use Android.

    I will always be grateful to Mr. Jobs & Company for their astounding innovation, releasing me from the prison that was the Treo 600.

    And I’ll always be glad for competition that allows me to move along when the original starts thinking they’re better informed than I am and can start deciding things for me.

    • You might want to try the iPhone again. No more dropped calls on AT&T, or you can choose another carrier, and everything on the web is H264 now, so no need for Flash (and Flash on mobile is dead anyway). Seriously the benefits outweigh the drawback by a considerable margin.

  24. I really can’t understand what all the fuss is about. I have iOS6 on my iPhone 4. For those functions (like traffic flow) that are not as good on Apple Maps, I hit the Google maps bookmark and am instantly on Google maps on the web. I use the Transit Syd app for the trains. I’m not changing from an iPhone just because one Apple app is dodgy. The map app is probably about tenth on the list of most frequently used apps on my phone or iPad.

    • Agreed. It is working fine for me, and for 80% of the use cases it is very useable. I’m sure Apple will sort the remaining 20% issues out in time. Just like Siri has evolved to become a more stabler product, so will Maps. I’m not going to give up the iPhone just because of the Map app being in a beta stage of readiness. The iPhone 5 is by far the best phone I have used and the fastest to date. This is the just a case of Fandroids raising a stinker just to disparage the iPhone platform.

    • Here in Sydney the Google Maps app never gave us transit info, turn by turn or roadworks / traffic incidents. Apple maps gives me live roadworks and traffic accidents, ties in to the awesome TripGo for transit and we get turn by turn next month – I guess your “mileage” may vary country by country ;-)

    • People need to be clear about the difference between the iOS5 Map App (which used Google) and the actual Google Maps. iOS5 maps didn’t give transit info, turn by turn or any of the fun stuff but Google Maps themselves have had all this and more for quite some time in their Android app. It would be reasonable to assume they’d be able to provide the same for iOS if both companies allowed it to happen.

  25. The long and the short of it is that Apple has wilfully made the user experience worse.

    Since navigation is one of two key functions that I use my Ipad for, I shall not be “upgrading” to IOS6.

  26. Must be the only country, but Apple Maps is generally better than Google maps in South Africa. It has traffic and the routing is better. It also has better POI’s than Google (not saying much as Google search for POI’s was piss poor in SA).

  27. Apple maps are not able to find directions between any locations in India. Google maps were finding directions from day 1 although they were not 100% accurate.

    Telling that it will improve over time is as ridiculous as Apple making an iphone and telling the calling function to be working from the next model or version. We can understand if they say call quality will improve from next version.

    There is a huge difference between basic things working and others improving later on and basic things itself not working.

    • Let me draw a map for you:

      1. Google Maps is available in a web browser on iOS devices. Right now.

      2. “The future belongs to the web browser,” as Google has been drilling into us every single day for a couple of years now.

      Enjoy your Google experience on iOS.

    • Let’s me draw a map for your Kontra. Apple Maps is being used by several thousand apps via MapKit. Given that the current state of the maps data as well as the location data for business is pretty much none usable what does that make Apps using MapKit?

      In my mind Apple just shot themselves in the foot. The one killer feature every one always mentioned first no longer works as expected. Mind you it worked perfectly fine for the past 4 years.

    • “pretty much none usable”?

      If there are no massive iPhone returns and developer defections soon, then you’ll be found grossly exaggerating, right?

    • @Kontra – I don’t want to give Safari access to Location Services, for my own privacy. However, I’m happy to give the Google Maps app that access. So the browser version is not fully functional for me.

  28. Apple maps has NO transit information. In the last year that has become the compelling reason for me to use Google Maps on the iphone.

    Hardly anyone is mentioning this. It is a *complete feature*, just absent from ios6.

    And yet, if I upgrade to ios6 I will lose it, & i don’t have the option to keep it on an iphone 5. Frankly, I would rather lose the camera.

    It’s not enough to say that Google Maps is available on the ios browser. That is slow & almost unusable in comparison, as are the various apps (at least for the UK).

    I dont expect perfection in data, but I do expect an equivalent feature set from any Apple replacement. And I don’t expect pundits to ignore it.

    Thanks for listening!

  29. Apple Maps cannot find directions between any two places in India. Google maps was finding directions from day 1 although, they were not accurate.I can undertsand if Apple maps dont give exact directions, but not at all giving directions between any 2 locations in a country is ridiculous.

    This is like Apple making an iphone which cannot make calls and expect it to get the calling function in the next version. The basic funstion itself is missing

  30. try any street outside of europe or america … google maps is way better than apple’s .. so, to avoid getting lost on my travels, i ain’t updating

  31. Your Alicante-Valencia example above is misleading. Firstly you’ve set it up for walking and no one in their right mind is going to ask Google Maps for directions for a 100-mile + walk. The water sections are actually on existing public ferries and could be the quickest way to make this journey for anyone mad enough to want to do it all the way on foot.

    But all you have to do to get rid of the ferries is drag the route line into the coast. You will then get a usable route walking all the way (which would take 35 continuous hours). If you use the car or public transportation options you get accurate directions. If you type in Alicante-Valencia into iOS6 maps you get similar car directions (no public transportation options available) but iOS6 dumps you miles outside Valencia halfway up a mountain to Monserrat.

    Blind allegiance to a flawed master may be praiseworthy. But it can so easily make you look rather foolish.

    • David is correct. The crazy pedestrian using the ferries would take 27 hours. Google Maps also allows you merely to point to the second pre-suggested route in the list on the left (labeled N-340, no route dragging required), which would take 33 hours. So Google is really quite clever to suggest a seemingly out-of-the-way ferry that slashes 6 hours off of an insane bit of exercise.

  32. The shrillness of those who seem to think Apple should have stayed with Google just telegraphs that Google after all these years gets 95% of their revenue from advertising. Their insecurity infects their users. Those attacking Apple (as opposed to acknowledging the weakness of a new maps offering) sound like jilted lovers, and don’t seem to display the confidence that would ordinarily come from a strong product such as Google maps. Maps are the crown jewels and if Apple can make it with their own maps in any amount of time then Google is screwed.

  33. I’m not entirely sure I follow Kontra’s point. Is he saying that people shouldn’t complain about the fact that their Maps app may essentially have stopped working in their particular part of the world, because Apple had good reasons for doing this?

    Obviously, Apple always has good reasons for the things it does. But why should that matter to users? They’re not Apple’s shareholders. They’re not Apple’s investors. They’re not Apple’s CEO. They mostly don’t even work at Apple. They bought an iPhone because it’s a tool. A tool that used to work well, which is why they bought it. For many, that tool has now stopped performing one of its main functions properly. That’s bad, and to these people, it doesn’t matter one bit whether Apple had good reasons for what they did.

    • Apple is not like Samsung or HTC. They don’t sell one-off gadgets. They sell an ecosystem and, gasp, a lifestyle. Corny as that may sound, that’s what Apple does. You may or may not like it.

      So the longterm health of that ecosystem is of utmost importance to Apple and to most of its (loyal) customers. (Again, you may or may not appreciate this.)

      Often, Apple’s ecosystems are seriously challenged by fierce competitors, like Microsoft, Adobe, Google, etc., which may force Apple to do things it would otherwise not want to do.

      This is best explained by Jobs himself in this short video, specifically referring to Google Search and Maps:

      http://bit.ly/OITkUm

      Maps is one such high-risk, strategic threat to Apple which it had to react to, at all (short-term) costs. Now it has.

  34. I can only comment on the impact for people living here in Tokyo, but for those of us who primarily travel through this maze-like city by train and on foot, (probably a sizable majority), the upgrade is disastrous. Station entrances and exits are omitted, or in some cases, entire train lines and stations have been erased. While the web-based Google Maps app can be used through Safari, it is vastly inferior to the native app when being actively used for navigation.

    http://www.japanmobiletech.com/2012/09/ios-6-maps-fail-in-japan.html

  35. Love the sheep defending their temple. Every product will have some flaws. However, it should be clear to any intelligent person that the iOS6 maps are clearly f*cked up. Clearly, intellect is somewhat lacking in this group.

    Bleat louder. :)

    • Doesn’t really matter if apple maps is still in beta.
      1. This will hurt google much more than Apple because Google gets more revenue from iOS than Android. Almost no one will return their iPhone because of apple maps.
      2. As contra argued, maps were simply too strategically important for apple. They had to act or risk being held hostage by google. (for example, Goggle never enabled turn by turn directions in maps on the iPhone.)
      3. Btw, there are agazillion other mapping options besides apple maps–free and paid. This is not a deal breaker.

      I am curious why it was so hard to swap out the back end data from google to tomtom. Apple didn’t have this much trouble with the first iPhone.

  36. Google maps had to go. The price for that was Apple had to create its own map service. Thats gotta hurt. There is going to be gloating from the android side with every ‘failure’ on Apple’s part. But Google pays a price too. There are a lot of iOS users out there. In fairly short order Google will be cut-off from all that data. User data. That’s going to hurt too. We can all gloat. If that’s what you want.

    The fact is, Google is ahead in the mapping game. No doubt. But with 300, or maybe 400 million iOS users, Apple maps will get better sooner rather than later.

    I take the bus a lot. It ticked me off, at first, that I had to pay up $2.99 for a transit app. Used it all day yesterday. Best $2.99 I ever spent. Hands down better than Google’s transit directions.

    So far, the only problem I’ve had to report to Apple is that the Home Depot near my house did not come up in a search I made.

    I used to feed back to Google maps… but not anymore.

    • “I used to feed back to Google maps… but not anymore.”
      So, for Apple’s flaw in an Apple’s app, you stopped giving feed back to Google which you used all the (past) time, in response to your anger to Google, not Apple? Quite an iSheep, from what it looks like.

  37. Good article, but I wish people would stop waffling on about the map *data* (pro or con) and focus on the app itself. I think it’s an awful mess irrespective of the problems with the data.

    It’s a step backward in functionality, it’s a very sloppy presentation overall, it’s insanely over-focussed on cars instead of on all the various other ways that people need to use a map and get around, and it has some questionable UI choices to say the least.

    It would be easy for someone to write an entire article on what’s wrong with this app. What we get however is endless articles pointing out funny data errors. Bah.

    • What do you see as the questionable UI choices because it seems to me that its about 98% the same UI it was in iOS 5

  38. I would not expect Apple’s map app to have the coverage that Google’s map has; in my opinion it would be unreasonable to have that expectation.

    I do not pretend to know what prompted Apple to make the change now; in my opinion it would be foolhardy to assume the reasons since I have no facts to inform my assumption. I would be surprised to find that they were cavalier in their consideration. I wager it was a difficult decision for Apple but one that they ultimately felt that had to do now.

    I give at least an even chance that the new app will eventually become a robust alternative to the Google maps app I have been using. In the meantime, the iOS6 map app is a significant downgrade.

    This is unfortunate for my situation. I estimate 40-60% of my reasons for having a smartphone–any smartphone–is to aid my use of public transportation. I think that until this summer, the iPhone was the best choice for my needs, but I admit I will not upgrade to iOS6 (or, naturally, buy an iPhone 5) with the map situation in its current state. I will never use turn-by-turn navigation, while I use the transit directions in the Google maps app several times a day every day.

    I am sure there are any number of workarounds to *get close* to my iOS5 experience on iOS6. Perhaps *eventually* when Apple’s solution cobbled together with third party apps–or (one can dream) Apple allowing me to set a different map app as the “default” app used by other apps–then iOS6 will be as useful as iOS5 to me.

    But that is not the case right now. Right now it is an unequivocal step backwards in my experience–a loss of utility in the immediate, and a loss of convenience in the long run. Utility and convenience is what I am spending my money for.

    Apple did not do this to annoy me. I am not trying to annoy Apple. But it is a change that is big enough to make me change products.

    • Can I get an iOS device preinstalled with Transit? And without Apple Maps installed of course, since it’s useless without help from third party apps. Or I might end up installing a bunch of third party ‘transit’ and ‘pedestrian’ and whatnot apps over time. How do I get rid of this useless map app… /sarcasm

  39. So, if these iMaps thing is supposed to get better over time as Apple gets more usage reports from iOS users, can we assume that only first-world countries will be properly mapped? Apple hates the poor, after all, hence why there’s no “entry” level iPhone, or they just throw the old models to poor people once the rich are bored with them, old models that don’t support Maps, btw.

    • Your response that Apple hates the poor is absurd. Not making a low cost product has nothing to do with liking or disliking the poor. I would submit that Walmart is no “Friend” of poor people and they provide lots of low cost products.

    • The iPhone 4 is now free on contract, and the 4S is $99 on contract. Both of them run iOS 6 fine and support the new maps, so your entire “Apple hates the poor” theory is utter garbage.

    • Are you people retarded or simply stupid? Matti said: “poor” and “first-world countries” yet you’re focused only on the first. Typical self-importance jerks from ‘first-countries’. Apple will ultimately fail on the rest of the world. Rich people bought iPhone but have ‘no time’ to respond or contribute. Poor and middle-class people can’t afford or there’s a better alternative. And neither Apple nor TomTom will spend enormous money, ever, to improve the maps where iOS devices sold less. And that means the rest of the world, except the US and maybe the UK and Japan. Think Brazil or Peru or Thailand.

  40. I think this is a storm in a teacup.

    Who is really going to change their purchasing decision from iPhone to Android because of this? For more than a year now Android Maps were vastly superior to Google Maps on the iPhone – if maps were the only determinant, you’d have an Android phone already. This is the only thing Apple cares about – who’s going to change their mind. I think nobody will.

    The only way Apple can improve their own maps app is to get it out there. In a few months from now, all the “funnies” that are now posted all over the place will be fixed, and iOS Maps will already be better than Google Maps for the vast majority of users. At least for the USA.

    They’ll receive some negative publicity – but keep in mind, negative publicity is better than no publicity so even that isn’t a big disadvantage. It can turn into a positive if they react well.

  41. So Apple saddled users with a subpar app that will take a long, long time to become adequate because it made business sense….can’t argue with that. It does sound like Apple which still blocks people from simple things like changing default apps.

    From a business standpoint, I guess they had to do it. But from a consumer standpoint – supposedly Apple’s primary concern always – this sucks and is unacceptable. For once can Apple be criticized for something wrong without its usual phalanx of defenders. Just let them have some shame for their misstep. Steve Jobs would have never let this out of the door. He probably would have held Siri for a year, too.

    As Apple defenders say, design is as much about what you leave out as what you put in. If it’s not ready it’s not ready. Leave it out.

    • How do you know Steve Jobs would have never let this out the door? And why does it suck? Just because techcrunch says so or because you ended up in the pond enroute to the grocer via maps?

    • True that. And he would have never let MobileMe out of the door either! Or iMovie ’08 for that matter. Things were always solid when things were released on his watch…

      Oh… wait…

    • I don’t think it will take very long to fix at all.

      Apple had no choice. The mistake they made was in 2007 when they didn’t immediately start working on their own maps product. Relying on a 3rd party for an important part of the user experience is something that Apple almost never does – in this case they made an exception and it hurt them.

  42. An iCultist on Twitter sent me here for the “Facts”. HA! This is utter garbage talk. If Apple isn’t the “best” at something, out come the excuses. If they are the “best” at something it is obviously because they are the best at whatever they do.

    The FACT is that the Maps app, sux. If they BOUGHT mapping companies then they made bad purchasing decisions because the Maps app sux. Buying mapping companies makes one assume that they came with…maps maybe?? Apple was so intent on having a few cities with “flyover” eye candy that they didn’t include things like THEIR OWN FLAGSHIP STORE IN NYC or even the Statue Of Liberty???? Please, this is a fail and they got over on the flock. This is why pre-orders and lines before anyone uses the things are so important.

    I also think it’s funny how people don’t realize that they can get better maps (and cameras and battery life and phone call quality, etc.) if they just, I don’t know…even LOOKED at competior’s phones. I actually heard someone bragging about the 4GLTE that other phones already have had. Same thing with voice turn-by-turn. They say that it’s free and included. Oh, you mean like all Android phones and even all Nokia Windows Phones with Nokia Drive?

    I’m done. Enjoy the iPhone 5. I know it makes people feel better to “belong” and the real fact is that ALL of these smartphones are amazing and you don’t have to have the best one. Be happy with it…just buy a Thomas Guide if you want to get reliable directions.

    • Isn’t it great when teenage girls post their thoughts??????????? Nothing like seeing ALL CAPS, trendy misspellings and multiple punctuation marks to emphasize things!!!!!!!!!!!! SO KEWL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Exactly which facts were you trying to obtain as a devoted Android user? This clearly doesn’t affect you at all, so why are you commenting here again? To convince everyone that Android is better?

    • @Andre: Why do you need to insult a grown man as a girl. Do you feel threatened? Btw, in order to prove your point, you fell way below with your ‘trendy’ style of comment.

      @bab: Your point being? Typical iSheep. Hearing only what you want to hear. Plug your ears.

  43. I think people are overreacting to these maps. 99.99% of the maps are useable and FREE. What more can you ask for. If Google released their own mapping solution on iOS then Apple will have competition. What is the downside?

  44. Looks like a whole unwashed cabal of DroidDouches (TM) pissed that their cheap plastic Galaxies and Razrs have been absolutely pummeled to the ground by the iPhone5 as the *FASTEST* smartphone in the market, are coming here to vent their spleen.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410034,00.asp

    Vent away DroidDouches (TM) vent away, if it helps in salving your shattered egos.

    • You seem to be the one salving your ego my friend.

      Relax; it’s only a smartphone. You shouldn’t care so much that people don’t like Apple Maps. Especially since your phone is so fast. =3

  45. No, thanks. I don’t have the free time to help Apple to improve their maps over the next decade. I depend on maps for my work. I need good maps now. I want the default maps app, the one that opens when I click an address in an email, to be a good one. The one I choose.

    Apple: please allow me to change the default maps app on iOS. NOW.

    • In a way, apple may have done you a favor. The old maps app wasn’t the best one out there, and the fact that it saved a few taps kept many people from finding better alternatives on the app store. Sure, it would be really great to allow the user to change the default, but in the meantime, go find a better app, and then when you have an address in an email, tap and hold, copy, and paste it into your favorite map app. Maybe you’ll be even happier than before.

    • Sure, in the meantime, go find a better phone, which you don’t have to buy a maps app to replace a shitty default maps app on a shitty phone.

      iPhone. Pretty outside. Empty inside.

  46. I think the real question to ask is why isn’t there map transparency yet? How many mapping systems do we need Google, Apple, MS, open source flavors… I get that data is a time consuming process and time is money but there’s got to be a better way to express transparency across companies. Just think if everyone, (corporations and individuals) contributed one a single mapping system how bad ass it would be.

    • And why would they do that? Why would Google, MS or Apple spend billions creating a good mapping solution that anyone could then integrate into a competing platform for free? Companies are not in the buisiness of making things better, they are in the buisiness of making money.

    • WebKit was nearly unusable when it was called KHTML though. No HTML5 support, not much CSS support, Javascript that took seconds to execute trivial scripts, layout errors all over the place, etc, etc. I’ve run KDE on my main desktop since 1.0 and I think it’s far superior to GNOME and Unity, but let’s be real here: Apple and Google made WebKit what it is.

      I’ll note a sideways contribution to open source by Apple as well: by forcing major websites to either eliminate Flash entirely or provide open standards alternatives they’re making it far more frictionless to browse the web with a fully F/OSS stack. (Anyone who ever suffered through Adobe’s dreadful official Linux Flash Player knew in advance that Flash on Android would be a slow, battery-killing debacle).

  47. I’m not sure what’s the fuss from all the idiots from the US. Apple’s IOS 6 Maps works great in Singapore and Malaysia. Better than Waze.

    Way to Apple! Thanks for the free and brilliant turn by turn app, which can only get better as it mature. Great job for a version 1.

    P.s. The looney whiner contingent in the US is getting as rampant and as rabid as those fine toothless folks from the Tea Party.

    • the idiots from the US built that iPhone err designed it…and you geniuses are using it..enjoy our idiocy.

    • errr … actually they designed it in the US. The US is not capable of making such a device in volume at the required quality….that is a known known he he.

  48. Cant belivie this article. Written by an Applefan in denial.
    “No it’s not bad, just look at google maps”. Come on, you can write better articles than this.

  49. I’m confused.

    Isn’t this the first real GPS map with turn by turn navigation for iOS? I’ve bought Navigon for my iPad a year ago, which is not too bad. It’s better than most GPS systems in a box. Now I’m getting one for free that works perfectly for me. I live in Belgium, maybe that doesn’t count?

    Anyway. You got it for free. This is not about Apple. If you needed GPS, you probably already have it. Nokia had phones with GPS even before the iPhone existed. If you miss google maps, use your browser. It works perfectly – better than the app we used to have.

    The only legitimate complainers are iPhone 5 buyers who wanted the best phone with the best turn by turn navigation. Apple promised them something awesome and *they* actually paid for it. The rest of you got it free.

    Still complaining? Move to Belgium. We make the best fries in the world and kick-ass beers. Apple Map will recommend you heaps of lovely restaurants and bars.
    Cheers

    • Beer, fries, and (yes, it seems cliche), but waffles. Man, they’re so much better there than the sad “Belgian” waffle impostors they try to pawn off on us here. I miss your waffles.

    • Let’s not forget the mussels.
      Terrible weather, otherwise I would consider Belgium.

      On topic: the US maps are in some ways a lot more readable than the old Google ones — I did a side by side on Brooklyn on two iPads — but, type in “Prospect Park” and the new maps send you to Jersey. I can understand messing up the meta data for Podunk, but there is no excuse for New York City not being perfect at launch.

      All that said, yeah, it is a storm in a teacup. The one real problem I ever had with iOS was the iPhone 4S voice call echo bug, that Apple finally fixed in 5.1. Of course the idiotic tech press didn’t really notice it, since it was a real problem.

    • For what it’s worth, after reading Ted T’s reply, I did a search for Prospect Park on my iPhone (iP4 upgraded to IOS6) and it sent me to Brooklyn. Perhaps the user feedback is already improving the product.

  50. The “walking only” option is right beneath the one with the ferry included (and under that a public transport option).

    So you rather had the “walking only” shown first, adding 6 hours to your trip because it skips the ferry.

    What is more likely – users complaining about how they were cheated out of a “walking only”-trip because Google menacingly told them to pay a ferry to save 6 hours, or users complaining because Google cheated them out of using a ferry which could’ve saved them 6 hours of additional walking…?

    Wow, common sense is running thin here.

    • When you say walking, you mean walking. He had “walking” selected.

      If he wanted public transport, he would have hit the transit button. Yes, even if it’s six hours longer.

      Would it also have been acceptable to direct him to the nearest Lexus dealer and then tell him to drive himself there? That would sure be quicker!

  51. This is the Romney campaign strategy. You do something wrong, but instead of owning it, show distract by distorting facts to prove that your opponent did something wrong, too.

    It doesn’t matter what Google did or does. iOS 6 maps are janky.

  52. That Alicante to Valencia is the best route using public transportation (using a ferry, not walking by water like you state) and there are 2 or 3 other optional routes that go through land, including a bus one.

  53. But the author forgot to mention that the iOS/Apple Maps has an exclusive feature since its very release: the melting building/streets/bridges/cities/monuments on 3D mode. It’s like the world has been transformed into Silent Hill – on that “hell” version of the city, of course.

    P.S – I also love the clouds with streets laid over them.

    To verify the awesomeness of the Apple Maps: http://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/

    • I cannot believe people are actually claiming Apple’s cool ground deformation based on elevation is a NEGATIVE. Don’t you like seeing where hills are? Can you really not look beyond a few slightly warped images?

    • I’ve gotten some distinctly distorted pictures out of the seams in Google’s Streetview, though the feature is pretty good. So will Apple Maps be, and the three times I’ve used its turn-by-turn it’s been flawless… for me. Meanwhile, I’ve taken the opportunity to drop an icon on my desktop from maps.google.com. When WILL Google come up with their own Google Maps app? Why are they late for it? Can’t hack the programming, or do they want to punish Apple for making their own product?

  54. there is a key error in these statements or assumptions: Apple doesn’t have to build maps from scratch. You make it sound like it takes 10 years to get the data in good shape. No, it doesn’t, data is available in its best shape every day, it only gets better. I work with free, reliable and up-to-date spatial data every day and Apple simply didn’t put it together right and focused on the wrong aspect of mapping.

  55. This is intentionally dishonest. Those are walking directions. It would take 33-40 hours to walk that far, so it suggests you take the ferry to shave 7-13 hours off your trip. If that’s the best you can do for “bad” directions, google’s maps are pretty damn good.

    • Even when you explicitly told it you wanted to walk only? Use of public transport is what the “transit” button is for. Why not also give you driving directions when you walk – that’s also faster.

    • Of course the walking directions include the comment “This route includes a ferry”, so if you consider riding a ferry to be walking on water then I suppose Kontra is right (sorry about earlier where I misspelled your misspelled name).

  56. Let’s see – who puts out unusable first versions and then gradually upgrades them to mediocre? Ummm… Well it’s Apple now.

    Maps is just the latest in a series of fails (see:icloud) that shows that Apple has changed the way it thinks.

    It used to be that Apple was concerned about a great user experience. Now Apple is most concerned about executing a corporate strategy. Customer lock-in? Check.

    Is Apple maps the world-class app in this category? No. Does it meet an internal corporate goal, check.

    Does iCloud provide storage for your files the way MobileMe did? No. Does limiting the storage to those files that are saved through Apple applications improve customer lock-in? Check.

    Apple has a truly bad case of Microsoft -itis. And, in the end, the result will be the same.

    Recently we have had one anti-customer decision made after another. (See: Final Cut X).

    I have been waiting to upgrade my iPhone 3G for a year waiting to see what the Apple iPhone five would be like.

    Now I know.

    Maps is a dealbreaker. I am not going to buy into that nor into the theory that Maps will get better. I once had a DEC Rainbow. It didn’t get better either.

    The customer lock-in theory only works if you provide the locked-in customer with a world-class experience. That’s not what’s happening here.

    I think I’ll stay with my iPhone 3G. At least I can trust that not to leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.

    • The problem with your argument is that they all work.

      Take iCloud for example. It does exactly what it advertised to do. It, in the background, backs up your settings and your phone. It syncs mail, contacts etc. I don’t believe you have experienced the automatic nature of iCloud.

      Final Cut Pro X wasn’t an anti-consumer decision, it was most definitely for the betterment of the consumer use. It produced a very fast and easy application to edit footage in. It may of lost professionals, but I know that it is definitely better for me, and if you or any other consumer were to try it, I’m sure you would find it great.

      As an app developer, I have had apple’s maps on my 3gs since beta 1 when there were only 4 coffee shops in the world and 5 sushi stores. The arial images of Australia look the same as what some of the images look like now in the final release. I have faith that apple will update their maps much faster now that they have crowdsourced and legit data to work with.

      At the end of the day, maybe you should only upgrade when Google releases their mapping application as it seems you are hard to please. Maybe you can upgrade to a second hand 4s that ships with ios 5. It would be a step up and beyond what your iPhone 3G provides. Maybe you should jump to android. Then you’d have something to rant about!

  57. I’m not pleased that Apple released a product which isn’t up to their usual impeccable standards. On the other hand there is such an easy solution to the problem if your unhappy with Apple maps that I don’t understand the froth and hysteria. Go to either Google maps or Nokia maps in safari on your iOS device, click the arrow by the text entry field, select save to your home screen and now you have essentially the google maps app or a Nokia maps app or both.

  58. You are the worst type of Apple fan.

    We all love great products, and Apple has had no shortage in making them over the past years. Maps, unfortunately, doesn’t fall into that category. To defend Apple’s approach here by going on a tirade about the state of Google Maps (WHICH is clearly a better fucking product) is myopic and insecure at best.

    It’s shitty that Apple messed up here, but trying to distract from the issues by pointing out flaws in the competitor reminds me of the tactics used by the Republican party and Fox News. The partial screenshots don’t help either. Who are you trying to convince – your readers, or yourself?

    Seriously, get some perspective.

    • Republicans pointing out flaws? Like How Obama won in 2008 by pointing out the flaws in Republican policies? Get a grip. Only a douche would make this political.

    • Can’t believe what the patent troll apologists are saying.

      They simply can’t accept the fact that one day the Apple map will be as good if not better.

      Sad but what is worst they pretend to like Apple products.

    • “Apple troll apologists”…huh??

      So you put people you disagree with on a perfectly valid issue into a group, name it something inflammatory and downright stupid, and then go on with your day feeling good about yourself.

      HERE’S QUESTION 1:

      If you had to find directions to a job interview you were late for, or because you had to rush to the hospital because your wife was giving birth, or if you were planning a camping trip and need directions to Buttfucknowhere, USA, would you use:

      a) Google Maps
      b) Apple Maps

      OKAY THEN.

    • Abdel

      If you need a map to move around then you have more help than a map.

      Fact is for your question the Apple map will do.

      Kind of hurt doesn’t being named but then who cares about apologists aping each other calling Apple apologists isheep.

  59. The saddest part of all this is the mapping product IOS had was four years behind the Google standard product for Android. Apple is getting grief for failing to match a 2008 product.

    Ask yourself why Apple has blocked all the updates to the Google maps since 2008?

  60. Talk about First World problems. Most of you who are complaining need to get a clue. This is no big deal. Remember actual maps you could get at a truck stop? Start there. Where are we now? So many “expectations” when a company like Apple has provided the whole explosion of the smart phone. Where would we be now without them (i.e. crappy Blackberry)? Nobody wants to give them a break. Me, me, me. All about “you,” huh? I for one am grateful to even have the technology in an iPhone, let alone actually be able to text, make a call and listen to music all on an incredibly made device. Quit your whining and grow up. Apple didn’t get you what you wanted. Boo-hoo. There are much bigger problems than maps on an iPhone. Besides, are you really unable to get from point A to point B without a GPS/smart phone? Seriously.

    *rant over*

    • Ahh, I love you. That comment was perfect.

      *sent from my iPhone 4 that I’m incredibly happy with*

    • Not to mention that it makes you look really cool.

      Considering that you can send a text, make a call, and listen to music on literally hundreds of different devices made since mid-2005, I’d say you’re a fanboi.

    • Thanks for this. One thing nobody is mentioning is that the iOS maps are so much faster than google in “standard” mode because they are vector based.

      This is kind of indicative to me of the divide between apple users and the rest of the world. To say that you can do such and such on thousands of other devices is completely tone deaf, so to speak. That’s like saying you can get from point a to point b in thousands of cars so all cars are the same, or that you can get 1500 calorie meals at thousands of restaurants in your city so McDonald’s must be as good a place to eat as any other, or most wine contains about 12% alcohol so drinking Boones Farm is as good as an Oregon Pinot. It’s completely moronic and typically comes from people who really don’t have a clue because they haven’t actually experienced the better option.

    • Why is it that people who have iPhones think that ONLY the iPhone can do things that ALL smartphones can do…and now, some can even do better?

      Funny that I can navigate to Apple’s flagship store in Manhattan using Nokia Drive on Windows Phone, but not with iOS6 Maps on the iPhone.

    • Following up on the Prospect Park comment above, after reading jeffdalydose’s comment, I asked for directions from Prospect Park to the Apple Store. The first result was to send me to the store in Soho, which makes sense since it was the closest one, but after I specified 5th Av, the app had no trouble routing me there.

  61. The dismay is related to the fact that I as a user have been downgraded to an extremely subpar service. Forget turn by turn, public transport, POI, something as basic as streets are missing from Apple’s data. The place where I live, where I work are blank spaces.I agree Apple needs user’s help to for local POIs, but am I supposed to draw streets for it too?

    Improvements will be there for US users but what about international users? How long will I have to wait for the improvements to trickle down? And from past experience, India is not exactly top priority for Apple.
    Since maps is the default, all location links will open in it, but show nothing because of the missing data. Even if i get other apps, i must manually enter my query in it to get the results.

    Yes it is tough to launch a Maps service & Apple would like to get the upper hand from competitors, but why must all compromises be made by the user? Why could I not have the google app along with the apple app? Apple prides itself for its superior user experience, well as i use google maps via safari, I can say that this isn’t the experience i paid for. And the only place for the maps app if that obscure folder on the last screen of my iPhone & iPad.

    • There isn’t a generic “location” link – you have to specify the maps URLs. The old URLs now go to Google maps web app and there are new ones if you explicitly want to open the Apple maps app.

  62. Google Maps is not giving crazy walking directions, it includes a ferry for the water portion. AND it does not say you have to take a ferry, it is only Option 1 for the walking directions because it shaves 6 hours off your trip. Option 2 walks you only on land on a very direct route. It takes 6 hours longer, but is pure walking and fairly direct. Always look at the top of the directions list for a short list of alternate routes. Why you cropped that off just shows serious bias.

    • It doesn’t matter that there are other walking options the “bug” is that this particular ferry option is included. You can shave many, many more hours off the journey by getting on the bus, but that’s not included as part of the walking search, you have to click through to another search for it. I explained this some more on the thread below.

  63. You stupid iTard, when Google maps gives direction for walking they include the Option of a ferry whenever possible. Let everyone reader check this link http://goo.gl/maps/kGxpw And it clearly says that “This route includes a ferry.” If you want to praise Apple, please go ahead but don’t trash others where it’s uncalled for.

  64. This article has it exactly right.

    It’s not like Google doesn’t get things wrong all the time. We’re just used to it by now. We use it when it helps and realize it, like every other online thing is a work in progress.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if this “groundswell” of approbation for iOS maps is coming right out of Google.

    You do know that they’re evil, don’t you?

    • And why is it evil? Because it forces you to use their browser on your phone? Because their technology works with only their technology, limiting your options? Because it sues competitors instead of… you know, competiting? Because it barely has an R&D division? Oh wait… that’s Apple.

  65. The iSheep, such as the author of this ridiclious blog, will go to the ends of the earth to defend the cult. It’s so sad.

  66. One of my coworkers lives out in the country here in the US, and for *years* now Google Maps has been incorrectly showing that a road runs through her house to another country road wayyyy on the other side. They’ve tried multiple times to get Google to correct this error, yet nothing has ever been done. They have to deal with a lot of poor confused folks who drive up to their house and don’t know where to go from there.

    So at the very least, people should consider what competitive pressure will do, now that Apple’s made this change. Google might actually be forced to give a darn, and fix long-standing problems like this with their maps, just as Apple has pressure to work with their partners and get their own maps right.

    Speaking for myself, Apple’s new maps are an awesome upgrade from iOS 5. At a glance, it’s so much easier to see where construction zones are, where traffic is heavy (dashed lines instead of colors has far better accessibility for colorblind folks like myself), and you can tap on the icons to see what each traffic hazard is. I realize it’s not yet up to that level everywhere in the world, but I really love what Apple’s done, and there’s nowhere to go but up as they refine it.

    (Incidentally, I also never had any battery life issues under OS X 10.8.0 or 10.8.1 – in fact, 10.8.0 actually *fixed* the laptop battery life issues I was having under Lion! While I realize I’m not necessarily representative of the majority, nevertheless things like this reinforce my Antennagate-born skepticism whenever the tech blogosphere starts going bananas over the latest Apple “scandal”.)

    • Exactly! We live at the end of the road, and Google, Garmin and others, direct people into our driveway, hoping to drive across out yard to another road. I use an address up the street when mapping a route so I don’t have to 4wheel through the fences between me and the main road. Obviously, Google will fail, and those Fandroid g-sheep will get what’s comin to em! ( sarcasm folks, cool down, it’s just a damn bit of software to AUGMENT your brain)

    • The point is that Google’s maps aren’t perfect either. And like Antennagate, the tech bubble reaction has the same scent of double-standards, where Apple’s products are excoriated for things that competing products are allowed to get away with.

      But hey, if it makes you feel better about yourself to resort to name-calling instead of having a substantive discussion, that’s up to you.

  67. @Kiki – Haha, you can’t blame Apple’s licensing of data from TomTom for the problems. There are basically 2 global scale commercial mapping companies in the world. One of them is NavTeq, owned by Nokia, the other is TeleAtlas, owned by TomTom. Of the two NavTeq leads in mapping quality in many countries, although TeleAtlas is better in some (smaller number of) others. Check where Google bought their baseline data from in the copyright notice on the maps. Apple is just doing exactly the same thing and starting behind them. Google is also crowdsourcing corrections, they just happen not to do do it through the iOS version of their maps app.

    To get really accurate maps worldwide with the kind of detail people expect requires crowdsourcing – the investment required to do it without is likely beyond even Apple. The most accurate maps are very often the user contributed ones on OpenStreetMap – I believe Apple are using their data too. The problem is the OpenStreetMap data only covers a really tiny subset of the planet in detail.

    I have no doubt here that Apple’s maps are currently inferior in geographical accuracy but I strongly suspect they’re nowhere near as bad as it seems. There’s a cognitive bias where everyone is looking at places they know and spotting all the things Apple has out of place or missing that Google had right. That is people have heard about the problem and are looking for local errors to see how bad it is. If you were to take the opposite mindset and look for how bad Google’s maps are, you’d probably find an extremely similar number of errors vs Apple’s maps.

    Personally I think it’s simply great for competition that there is now one more company in the world who are very actively trying to improve global digital mapping solutions – there weren’t enough of them previously.

    • I haven’t had trouble with Maps yet. I might eventually (and I did have the occasional problem with Google Maps), but it works well enough in my city.

      I’m guessing that most of the issues lie in the big cities that rely on public transportation. That seemed to be the main source of complaints about the reception a few years ago (AT&T reception was good for me too).

      Hopefully Apple is devoting a lot of time and money toward fixing this.

  68. That Google Maps example – that IS the quickest way to get from A to B if you’re on foot! It involves a ferry. It clearly states “this route includes a ferry”. Nowhere does it say you have to walk on water.

    There are some crazy routes on Google, but that isn’t one.

    • Did you know you can walk on an airplane? So are you arguing Google Maps should also include airplane routes whenever “walking directions” are requested?

    • Daniel, I agree that that route would make sense if using a ferry was unavoidable. But in this case, it isn’t. Someone who wants walking directions in this case doesn’t want to ride a ferry to Ibiza and back, but a land route suitable for hiking or using a bicycle.

      And this case isn’t presented to play down the Apple Map apps shortcomings – it’s just there to illustrate that even after years of dedicated work there are still kinks in Google maps. Apple really didn’t have a chance to start as good as Google on iPhone in 2007 – and no chance in hell to rival Google’s quality today out of the box.

      Google is sitting on a huge cache of data, provided by its users with searches and of course their own huge web crawlers.

      Every map search at google maps leads to an URL which quite often leads to a site using Google analytics, which enables Google to verify the quality of the map search – and vice versa.

      Kontra is absolutely right: The maps disaster was unavoidable, Apple had to risk this. Even if they lose 10% of customers this year, they are still immensely rich and can afford to bounce back and create a quality map service.

      They couldn’t do this 5 years ago and it’s very likely that they couldn’t do this any later than now, before Google becomes unopposable.

    • Is being labelled “beta” an excuse for such bad directions (though kudos to Google for correcting it; I’m sure Apple will correct its mistakes in Maps as well)? If Apple were to label this new Maps as beta, would people have no right to criticize its flaws? What about Siri?

  69. Ok, i understand that you only want to show an example of google mails failing to show that apples maps app will get better. But the example of walking directions from Alicante to Valencia is just ridiculous, that are is 160 km so you would need 33h for that. By taking a _ferry_ (there is no walking on water, you should have included the “This route includes a ferry.” warning) you only need 27h. The algorithm worked perfectly! It has chosen the fastest path, your use case example is just stupid. You have even select the track without a ferry.

    Don’t get me wrong, i see what you wanted to say and i agree with that, but the failing example of google maps is no real failure

    • That’s what they are: ‘semantic contortions’. I would call it: trolling.

      GMaps offers the best solution available for when you are looking to walk to a particular destination. Of course they decided to include a damn ferry when there was no other way. They clearly TELL YOU THERE IS NO WAY TO WALK YOUR ROUTE. And no, walking on an airplane defeats the purpose of walking. You are not travelling by foot when on an airplane, no matter how much walking you do.

      You can also walk backwards or run or jump your way somewhere. Play all the sematics you want. But making excuses for Apple for giving you an inferiour product intentionally is just lame.

    • There’s a lot of trolling and nonsense in these comments but Will, you have simply missed the point:
      “They clearly TELL YOU THERE IS NO WAY TO WALK YOUR ROUTE.”
      They don’t tell you that for this particular route and if they did they’d be dead wrong. We are talking about going between two places on the coast of mainland spain by hopping on a ferry to Ibiza and back. This is definitely not the only way. Clearly Google are including passenger ferries in all walking direction searches regardless of the need to use a ferry to complete the journey – that’s a bug plain and simple. As Kontra says, why not simply hop on a plane, or get a taxi for that matter.

    • @Mark I actually did the search myself and guess what? Other ‘walking only options’ are a click away. This ferry-included one is just the fastest one. So there you go, it is not a bug, it works how it’s supposed to work.

    • Kontra is an idiot. Google Maps does not say you have to take a ferry, it is only Option 1 for the walking directions because it shaves 6 hours off your trip. Option 2 walks you on land only on a very direct route. It takes 6 hours longer, but is pure walking and fairly direct. Always look at the top of the directions list for a short list of alternate routes.

    • Arrrrgh, you’re all still missing the point! :-)

      Walking directions are intended for walking – sometimes you might need to take a passenger ferry to complete a walking journey because there is no land bridge for example, so Google includes those options. Non-walking options simply to save time on a walking journey are clearly not what you’re going to be looking for – there are much better ways to shave 6 hours off the journey at much lower cost (they offer some bus routes for example). Kontra’s example is a bit of an extreme case – 33h walks are not typical. It would be unusual that hopping on a ferry to some place not in the direction you’re heading would be quicker than walking on a much shorter walk. Google has simply not bothered to filter out the ferries in this kind of corner case yet. If you really want to argue the point I’ll tone “bug” down to “not yet implemented feature” which is what we get to call bugs in released software now everything is in almost permanent beta.

      For the record, the fact that it also finds routes that are walking only definitely doesn’t excuse it from including this one at the top of the list.

    • Why is taking a ferry in any of the options, let alone the first one? The user has selected “walking” not public transport. Europe is full of walking paths, some hundreds, some thousands of miles long, plenty of people are willing and able to walk 160km, though few will do it in one 33h slog. Walking on to a ferry and getting taken to your destination is no different to walking on to a bus and being taken there. Google Maps has a bug, it’s not a very common bug, but it is a real one and it is clearly demonstrated in this example. But since I don’t pay anything for GM I’m not up in arms about it, and since Google have accepted multiple corrections from me (click the link in the bottom right of GM to report an error) I’m quite happy with their service. But I can still call a spade a spade.

  70. All fine and dandy. But what you conveniently left out is, that Apple didn’t start mapping from scratch but rather teamed up with TomTom, a company that boasts it’s the „world’s leading supplier of in-car location and navigation products“ and that was founded it 1991.

    Now, most people that use a TomTom product in their car at least here in Europe know that the data is somewhat sketchy and the product less than stellar. So Apple’s „mapgate“ didn’t really come as a surprise; at least I was rather expecting it.

    What irks me very much though, is Apple’s response: we, the paying customers who just were stripped of a perfectly fine working product not only got an inferior one in exchange but are supposed to actively help Apple improving on it! The biggest, richest, hottest company on this planet relies on crowdsourcing, on it users to do their work for them. And not only do the unwashed masses not get paid for this but in fact are expected to pay for it themselves.

    Crowdsourcing is fine for open source projects. But Apple is no open source company, on the contrary. This is such a dick move, I can’t believe their chutzpah.

    • Not just Tom-Tom, dude, they bought 3D mapping company C3 Technologies, geo-mapping start-up Placebase, and Canadian online mapping design house Poly9, in addition to sourcing maps from Waze and TT, both of whom have years of crowd-sourcing behind their products. Agree, must do better.

      An optimist’s dream: Apple could well be “playing with our brains” by manipulating expectation downwards, and then pull a rabbit out of the hat with “one more thing…”

      Here’s hoping (crossing fingers, arms, legs…)

    • Pray tell, how do you suggest they build up their data then?

      Why does Google receive grace and mercy – even praise! – when they ask for help from their users, but Apple cops the ire of the entire world? Google Maps ain’t no open source project!

    • @Dan: correct, but it doesn’t cost money to use Google’s products. You pay with your data, it’s a quid prod quo.
      In Apple’s case you pay a hefty sum for a device that doesn’t work as advertised and can’t even downgrade or revert back to iOS 5.x which had the functionality you were looking for.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Apples products (well, most of them) and have been using a good deal of them over the past 25 years. And I don’t like Google. At all. But I am fairly certain that Steve would never have let this inferior product out the door. He would have said IT STINKS and ordered everybody back to the drawing board.

    • “What irks me very much though, is Apple’s response: we, the paying customers who just were stripped of a perfectly fine working product not only got an inferior one in exchange but are supposed to actively help Apple improving on it!”

      Yes. Because that’s precisely what Google did with maps.

      Let me share an article from 2007: http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/012470.html

      And here is the page Google setup for reporting map errors.

      http://support.google.com/maps/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=162873

    • And MobileMe, Apple TV? Didn’t they take heavy flak out of the gate? Are their Mark II versions still crap, or did they gradually improve?

      Have faith, bro… or be positive at least.

      As Kontra says, “The longer Apple waits the harder it gets”, and as Apple says “the more it is used, the better it will get”…

    • lol come on man, the 2 most widely used app on the iPhone cannot be compared to MobileMe and AppleTv. People rely on this thing, and it looks like a 2nd year college student’s project. Way to make your loyal customers receive an “update” with reduced functionality. I for one, cannot wait until Google release their own version (if Apple decides to play nice).

    • “No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame.”

      That was the reaction to the iPod. The iPhone got similar reactions (no cut and paste, no app API, no MMS, no flash, no 3G etc). What you apparently forget (and what Apple is arguably the king at making people forget) is that the first versions of their products are often worse than what is available from their competitors. But what Apple does best is make the package they do present a compelling product that can be improved incrementally and subtly until you can’t imagine that it ever wasn’t this good. Maps is version 1. The next one will be better, and the one after that will be better still. Apple has had its share of flops, but the one thing they are is dogged in the pursuit of their vision. Good mapping is part of that vision, so they will make it better.

    • @tmoney,
      what you forget with all your arguments is that in all those cases there wasn’t a single product in the market that was even comparable. This has totally changed. Here in Sydney, Australia at the current state the Maps App in Windows Phone 7 works better than the Apple Maps App in iOS 6. Actually let me rephrase that. After using iOS 6 for the past 10 days the Maps app is pretty much useless.

      Remember that Maps on iOS work perfectly fine before.

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