Apple Maps: 5 Steps Forward and 6 Steps Back
Apple has serious drawbacks with its new Apple Maps. Apple relied on Google-supplied maps that have been standard on the iPhone since its debut until recently, i.e. until iOS 5. Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS 6 has a new mapping solution developed by Apple itself, a solution to a problem that didn’t exist in the first place. Apple took 5 steps forward with each iteration of iOS and they’ve taken 6 steps back with the introduction of Apple Maps on iOS 6. Apple’s switch from Google-supplied maps can be attributed to Android, Google’s mobile OS, possibly the biggest threat to Apple’s iOS. By going its own route, Apple has got itself in a very messy situation, it can be labeled as the new and upcoming ‘antenna-gate’ of iOS 6.
Apple’s new maps are trying hard to be as good as Google’s, but they’re unfortunately not as good. The new maps drew the largest flak from the users after being released yesterday with the iOS 6 update. And all these problems being reported are majorly from the US, the hitches are magnified significantly outside of the US. Low map details might be a slight problem in US, but according to several users, London, Beijing, and Tokyo are virtually blank, with several major landmarks being labeled inaccurately or just haphazardly misplaced. And Satellite view is supposed to be even worse, especially internationally, with most of the regions clouded with, well, just clouds.
“Even Apple’s highly-touted 3D “flyover” feature is somewhat broken: it frequently displays comically distorted images that look like major landmarks and structures have been destroyed. The Statue of Liberty? Gone. The Brooklyn Bridge? Obliterated. Twitter users quickly started collected examples using the hashtag #ios6apocalypse, and a Tumblr called The Amazing iOS 6 Maps quickly filled up with examples of bad data. ” – The Verge.
Google maps and Nokia maps have been the de facto industry standard for a number of years now, and users are very familiar these solutions after years of use. Perhaps what Apple needs is a little bit of time and experience to sort things out, but why didn’t they just wait till their mapping solution was perfect before beta testing it with iOS 6? After all, Google Maps worked flawlessly in iOS 5.
“It takes a long time and effort to figure out how to do this right. Experience is important.” – Google Maps VP, Brian McClendon
With all the broken data and structures you may be wondering where Apple gathered all the mapping data from. Sources say that Apple is using data from TomTom in the US, and other services abroad. Google has been at this job for years and Apple’s just getting started now. Other companies are just going to established players and not even trying, Amazon for example signed a deal to use Nokia maps on its Kindle Fire devices.
One more major loss for consumers using iOS 6 devices worldwide is the the loss of mass transit directions. It’s just not available in the new iOS 6 and requires third party apps to fetch the data. This is going to be a feature missed by those living in cities with a great metro transit system, like Japan, New Delhi or a host of other cities in several Asian and European countries which rely heavily on mass transit system to get their traveling done. The problem is so widespread that it has started to appear on front-pages of a few major journals in Europe and we’ll sure be hearing more on this later.
Google has promised to deliver Google Maps app in the future for the app store, and it can’t arrive soon enough. Until then, third party apps like Waze and Google Maps on Safari are the best options available for those using iOS 6. Apple is working hard on an update to fix major issues, but it has a lot of work cut out for it now. It remains to be seen what the reaction of all the loyal Apple customers is going to be on this matter.
In the gallery below, you can find a few examples of flaws inherent in the Apple Maps. Some images are just outright funny, and some may even qualify as art! Check them out below.
Salman Ravoof is a freelance writer, a mechanical engineer and an avid science and technology enthusiast. He likes creativity and is a great fan of fantasy and sci-fi genre. When not busy, he revels in experimenting and spends most of his time pondering about the existence of reality.
21 September, 2012