New Apple maps app under fire from users


Rory Cellan-Jones compares Apple's new map app with Google maps

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Inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities in Apple's new map software have provoked anger from users.

In June Apple announced it would stop using Google Maps in favour of its own system, created using data from navigation firm TomTom and others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Museum in river

Among the user complaints regarding Apple's maps sent to the BBC were:

Screenshots of satellite coverage in Dingwall Users have complained about the quality of satellite images in the new software (bottom)
  • Some towns appear to be missing, such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.
  • Others, like Uckfield in East Sussex, are in the wrong location.
  • Satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud.
  • A search for Manchester United Football Club directs users to Sale United Football Club, a community team for ages five and above.
  • Users also reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations. Another screenshot showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river.

The Twitter account which posted the screenshot, @fake_iOS6maps, has since been suspended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spot the difference

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

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

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

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


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  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    maybe people aren't not holding their i-phone 'correctly', wasn't that the problem last time?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Anyone searched for Woolwich Arsenal or Scunthorpe yet?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    The map data on TomTom's own devices is a very long way from perfect. Particularly around Glasgow, even very recent maps suggest you should make right turns that have never been possible, or make turnings into a road that has been blocked off for years. It takes them years to apply corrections to their maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    The A38 in Worcestershire is now marked as the Fosse Way.
    The satellite view of Worcestershire has a very poor resolution.
    It's an awful replacement compared to the Google maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I bet the maps have got all the right directions for getting to Starbucks, Hollister and, of course, the nearest Apple Store.

    That's all the information an Apple user really needs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

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

    I don't see how this is any different from Microsoft's anti-competitive practises with their web browser. So why are Apple not being investigated for their closed off and draconian services?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Positives: more colour and it's faster.

    Negatives: No streetview, inaccuracies in the data (Consett in Co. Durham was labelled Gonsett), poorer resolution satellite/aerial imagery.

    For me, I'm afraid it's a backwards step from Apple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    It'll be interesting to see if Google bring out their own Google Maps app for iOS, now Apple no longer have the license to make their Maps app using Google's data. What do Google value more: the ad revenue and user search data from iOS users, or the chance to trumpet native Google Maps support in Android to try to push iOS users to Android?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I love apple, I have a macbook and an imac, also apple tv, iPods, iPhone 4 - which I will be sticking with, poor steve sitting up there watching his brilliant company go back down the pan again :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    A work colleague has just looked at the iOS6 Solihull and found it under cloud cover, maybe that is why it is AWOL?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I understand why Apple did this, after Google's "treachery", but Google do make the best maps. Apple don't make the maps, and they've partnered with a company making inferior maps to Google's. It's not really Apple's fault, but they will get the blame anyway, and have really shot themselves in the foot with this. Apple should have just stuck with Google, and not let Jobs's ego override sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Apple Maps thinks my home address is the local cafe, and the GPS locator dot wanders aimlessly round the screen. 3D is no match for Street View - the quality seen in central London drops off markedly even in Zone 2. I suspect Apple's arrogance will backfire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    This is typical of Apple in their drive to be unique. If it's not broken, why fix it? Users want a reliable, accurate service. Google Maps has come a long way in recent years and can be relied upon to get you where you want to go most of the time. I'll be sticking with my Android phone for the foreseeable future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    iOS6 Maps - crap. Back I go to using NavFree for free SatNav and i'll print out anything else i want from my home PC.

    People who moan about this free service have plenty of other alternatives to use. Get off your lazy backsides and download something else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Agree with Twonko and ChubbyPandas, if you don't like it don't use it or and this is really crazy USE A MAP, map reading is a valuable life skill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Steve Jobs was a stickler for perfection, not allowing any releases until they were perfect, a foundation that built Apple's success - he's turning in his grave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Well there ya go .... pay a premium price for a supposedly top end handset and Apple force downgraded maps with no public transport navigation and blurry photos. On the flip side you can get the Huwaei G300 Android handset for around £60 and it has the full Google Maps with navigation on a 4" screen. Feeling ripped off yet?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Personal decision:

    Stopping on IOS5 - not going to 'upgrade' at this time.

    Lets see if Apple fixes or google produces an Iphone/pad app. (Google may play a crafty card if they do not, leaving the apple rival crippled)

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I didn't think it was that bad... But it will improve in time.

    Google maps had much to improve when it first came along too!

    Or has everyone forgotten that?


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