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Apple: iOS 6 Maps will improve with use

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By Phil Dzikiy

News Editor, iLounge
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
News Categories: Apple, Apps + Games

Apple has responded to widespread criticism of its new iOS 6 Maps app, saying the company is “just getting started with it.” Spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD late yesterday, “We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get.” Muller also said Apple is working with developers to integrate existing transit apps into Maps. Though it’s only officially been out for a few days, the new Maps app has drawn plenty of ire for inaccurate directions, poor photographic renditions of some areas, and distorted 3-D in major cities.

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1

So to paraphrase:  We know it is broken/flawed but just use it anyway and it will eventually get better.  Apologies in advance if we drive you off a cliff but we didn’t know it was there!

Amateur hour in the Apple Mapping group. Really hoping Google puts out their own Maps app so I can upgrade to iOS 6.  Won’t be upgrading until I have a decent map alternative (and no, maps.google.com is not nearly good enough from my perspective).

Posted by BrennerM on September 21, 2012 at 5:41 AM (PDT)

2

If people sit back and think about it, Apple has built a great mobile OS for developers and a set of hardware that users like to buy which is great for developers. They have not produced one piece of AAA first party software for iOS that is more complex than a single task app like FaceTime (even Siri was merely a 3rd party app they purchased to make it exclusive to select Apple devices). Even their mobile Office suite - which is not inexpensive by iOS standards at all - gets very mixed reviews and most go with a 3rd party solution.

I am hoping the crap storm that is coming their way wakes them up: They’re the most valuable tech company on the planet, but they have reduced their in-house software production to a skeleton crew to maximize profits at the expense of the quality people expect from Apple. The chutzpah to have even thought they could recreate what Google has spent over 8 years on (and which started from a 3rd party acquisition in 2004 no less) and save money over licensing it is mind blowing. The arrogance to have released it in this state when they must have been fully aware it didn’t even work is shocking. All they had to do at any point in the past year was just admit there was no way they could have it ready for release and contact Google to extend the licensing for Google Maps and Google would have been more than happy to have complied. Then next year or whenever it actually was ready to release they could have made the transition but, no, it was far more important to save money and stick it in Google’s face that they no longer needed their solution. And so now we get weak apologies for releasing a turn by turn navigation system that will happily send you driving across the Atlantic when all you wanted to do was visit your aunt across state.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on September 21, 2012 at 6:26 AM (PDT)

3

While I fairly forgiving (and have that luxury since I already have the Navigon app for my iPhone 4), Apple does need to se past their noses on some of these decisions. Code Monkey’s most poignant statement is that Apple is trying to “stick it in Google’s face”. This dates back to Steve Jobs and his position on Google and Android. Apple still feels that Google betrayed them in some way. t is time to move on. Make a better product (not that the iPhone is bad in any significant way). If it includes Google apps, it includes Google apps. One of the key selling points of the iPhone is the quality of the hardware. The other is the usually seamless integration of the mobile OS with the mobile hardware AND the iTunes and OS X pieces.

In all honesty, this little break from Google may be a bonus as time goes by. YouTube is already an improved app since the removal of the native iPhone version. Google was basically given an open door to make the app they wanted, not the one Apple required to be “integrated” into iOS. If Google can work a Google Maps app that can improve on what we have had…great! But I will keep “using” Navigon and “playing” with Apple Maps on my soon-to-arrive iPhone 5. If it improves with use, so be it. If not, not love lost since I did not plan to use it anyway.

Posted by Mitch on September 21, 2012 at 8:17 AM (PDT)

4

It will get better?

So get rid of an app that is light years beyond the Apples map program and the response is it will get better? So now I have to wait 4-6 years until things get even close to what they were with the Google’s maps?
They lied with Flyby and made it sound like it was everywhere when it is probably just a handful of big cites. Otherwise it’s just a aerial view picture viewed at an angle. With that though process I can take any picture I have in a photo album and look at it at a 45 degree angle and it’s #D cool!Google had a pretty good street view that was more like being in it rather than the above ground view. That was way better when you want to see what it around such as buildings, their color, size, nearby signs, markers, etc. when you are looking for a location. I’m glad I just did my iPad and not my phone. It will make me hold off on the iPhone 5.

Posted by Johnny on September 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM (PDT)

5

@Mitch, I completely agree that we’ll probably see a stand alone and better solution from Google directly in the near future, but that’s skirting the elephant in the room:

If Apple isn’t making any “must have” software exclusive to their hardware, and the best solutions to many every day tasks come from the guys making that “other” big mobile OS, and Apple keeps dropping the ball on basic playback matters (podcasts, smart playlists, etc.), keeps getting outdone by the competition on cloud solutions, and nearly all top shelf 3rd party apps are available on both platforms, why exactly are we all still clinging so tightly to our fruit bearing devices?

It was easy to explain why I was using an iPod over any other choice in 2005. It was easy to explain why I was using an iOS device over any other choice in 2010. Unless something drastic happens, something tells me I’m not going to be using an iOS device come 2015.

I’m feeling a lot like my purchases of this year’s hardware is akin to a very expensive desperation stunt to save a relationship I can no longer convince myself is going to go anywhere. I just can’t bring myself to make the leap to chase something else no matter the signs I should… this year.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on September 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM (PDT)

6

This Map app should not have been included in this iOS version. Like Johnny, I’ll be curtailing my purchase of an iPhone 5 & not upgrading my old iPhone until I find a reasonable alternative to Maps. Pity, there are things about the new app that are laudable.
I would expect Steve Jobs would have delivered expletives to the Maps team just as he dissed the MobileMe crew at its launch.
Is this a smear on Tim Cook’s leadership?

Posted by Jimmy Canuck on September 21, 2012 at 9:35 AM (PDT)

7

To anyone making the “What would Steve Jobs say?” comments: This process was initiated by Jobs because Jobs had a positively insane level of animosity for Google and Android in his later years stemming from a baseless idea that somehow Android - open sourced and built from open sourced Linux code base (you know, the same code base that Mac OS X and iOS X were built from) - was somehow a “stolen product” from Apple, the Jobs vowed to spend Apple’s last penny, his last breath to destroy, to go “thermonuclear war” on.

It is possible that Jobs would have delayed it until next year, but I wouldn’t bet on that.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on September 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM (PDT)

8

As others have stated, perhaps Google can now develop the Maps app that they always wanted for iOS.

But consider this—given the acrid relationship between these two companies, even if Google could be successful in making a better map solution, I question whether or not Apple would allow Google to show them up like that in their own sandbox.

Also, Apple has a track record of not allowing apps that compete with or duplicate the functionality of a built-in app.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on September 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM (PDT)

9

@8: I don’t think Apple has much choice. I know they haven’t been sticking by the competition/duplication clause for years, I’m not even sure it’s still in the developer rules because it’s clearly DOJ bait. *Most* of my utility apps are competing with Apple’s, unless the loophole is that they’re not duplicating them because Apple’s were garbage and these aren’t, I can’t imagine it’s still enforced.

If Google complies with all development rules and Apple rejects them arbitrarily over the animosity when Tom Tom, Navigon, etc. are still around, they’d be subject to yet another federal investigation before the year was out.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on September 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM (PDT)

10

Despite all the cynicism surrounding the “it will get better” statement, it HAS gotten better. I updated my iPad last night. This morning Maps was sending me around the block for destinations that were straight shots down the street. I tried the same addresses again tonight, and it is now giving me correct directions. In fact, I can’t even recreate the circuitous routes anymore. I should have taken a screenshot just for laughs.

Posted by Nancy on September 21, 2012 at 7:24 PM (PDT)

11

Was just about to hook up my iPad to sync and update. Glad I read this first. Will wait several weeks now because I need very accurate mapping for several trips between now and Halloween.

Posted by sallenmd on September 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM (PDT)

12

The biggest problem with the iOS 6 Maps app is that it is useless for me here in India. I have been using it since the first beta was released and have not noticed much changing at all.

I cannot search for anything or get directions to any place. I am refraining from updating my iPad to iOS 6 since I need Maps working in at least one device.

Sure, 4-5 years back maps on phones were a niche segment, but now I have grown dependent on them to find places and directions. And using Google Maps on Safari is not the best alternative available.

Siri cannot perform any location based servies in India (and I assume pretty much anywhere outside of US) and I don’t expect that to change in the next couple of years. But Maps has got to improve if they are to replace Google Maps.

Posted by Sreedhar on September 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM (PDT)

13

@8, Apple has let Google’s Email app onto the App store. There are various other browsers and Maps apps available so why would they prevent Google Maps?

What I am wondering is, how will Google move forward with this. IIRC, they were to charge if more than a certain number of people used the Maps per day. So if it is released as a stand-alone app, the metrics are gone because each User is a unique identity. The only way they can off-set the loss in revenue would be via ads in the app. Is that what they will do?

All said and done though, if there is a Google Maps app released without ads, I will buy it immediately.

Posted by Sreedhar on September 22, 2012 at 5:32 AM (PDT)

14

I used it this weekend after my GPS died.  It was OK - didn’t seem too bad in fact.  But I don’t even get using it as it relies upon a cell tower.  True GPS works everywhere.  There are small GPS devices now, and I’ll take one any day over a cell phone.  At some point, Apple had to do this, and it will take time to fix.  I’m not sure how else they could have done this?  I have no clue how many programmers Apple put in this project - do you guys?  I’m not defending them, I just don’t know enough beyond using it to comment.  A little bashing is good for Apple. They’re giant and need a smack now and then.  Look at MS, RIM, and others that got lazy.  Apple is no different.

Posted by sb on September 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM (PDT)

15

I’ve actually given up with Apple for phones now.
Samsung is better.
Still keeping my iPad/MacBook Pro. But in terms of functionality, ease of use etc. Samsung beats then hands down.

Posted by Jon Myles on September 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM (PDT)

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