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 44.

    can you actualy use this as a phone though? i remember that being a bit of a shortfall in the last model haha overpriced, buggy junk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Both Google and Microsoft offerings are now far better than Apple's. The iphone 5 has a smaller screen than competitors, no user-changeable battery, and an OS that looks very tired and out of date with no widget / live tile functionality. And now they've removed an excellent mapping app and replaced it with their own shonky one. They need to up their R&D spend, they're getting left behind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Hmmm. I was going to get an i phone next year because the operating system seemed so much better screwed together than Android. Maybe Apple is already missing Mr Jobs' obsessive eye for detail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Why did they even remove Google maps in the first place? Technology improves much faster when we work together.
    On a related note, how come Microsoft products got bashed for shipping with IE, when Apple are now forcing users to use this mapping software...

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Poor old Apple, we have such high expectations of them. Perhaps that is because their stuff generally works well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Or you could get an Android phone with Google maps ;)
    I get the feeling that Apple are dropping Google maps because they want to be independant of Google before slapping a lawsuit on them.

    Apple sell to people who want to be trendy, people who don't care how good the product is. Apple could market an analoge phone the size of a house brick and millions of people would still buy it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Oh here we go, a chance for all the anti-Apple trolls to emerge. Anyone who has an ounce of technical savvy expects this to be a product in development. If you want Google Maps then use safari on your iPhone or install the Google Earth maps App! Thank god we did'nt listen to all the Mini-Disc owners who said that iPods would never be a success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    You pay enough for apple devices, you'd think they'd give you decent mapping software. Instead, just like with flash, they shoot themselves in the foot for the sake of corporate squabbling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Im an apple fan, but apple maps are a real backwards step. 'Flyover' in London is great....but only IF you regularly travel to London! lack of google streetview will be missed on a daily basis. I can only hope Google release a streetview app (pls!) Errors I have seen so far include the Cheshire town of Crewe listed as 'Wrexham Crewe'... - Wrexham is some 20+miles away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    If it ain't broke...........

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    its officially rubbish. A huge leap backwards.

    The satellite images & maps don't go into anywhere near as much detail.
    Apple need to get the butts in gear and sort it.
    As soon as a Google maps app is released I'll probably never look at it again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    @22 You're right about TomTom, I've seen directions that take you down a road that's been blocked off for at least 5 years. However, you'd at least expect towns to be in the right place :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Mine work absolutely perfectly. Even used it as Sat Nav on the way in to work this morning as a tester and it never missed a beat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Gone are the days of Apple wowing me. The maps app is poor, and it seems illogical to make their user experience of maps on the iPhone so much worse. There may be reasons why Apple weren't able to carry on supplying Google maps but they need to be upfront and explain it to people. My house is now in black & white!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    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?


    Yes but it is already years ahead of Apple's system. As a consumer, I wouldn't want to be playing catch-up on a key smartphone feature when a better alternative is already available.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I've had a TomTom sat-nav for a few years - it's sent me up dead-end streets a few time, despite having been updated. Don't know what Apple was thinking when it decided to partner with TomTom. I was thinking of getting an iPhone 5 to replace my 3GS, but I'm not so sure now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    They are *really* bad. We can only hope Google releases a maps app for iOS as soon as possible. Apple has no chance of catching up with Google, they've got a decade-long head start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    This new map software by Apple has taken the iPhone back 7 years, the most awful mapping I have seen, this is a chance for Google to make an app and push Apple's poor attempt into oblivion, or like some people will do is wait for jailbreak and put their own programs on like you can with any other device!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    ChubbyPandas, the issue is that Maps is a well used feature of modern smartphones. This is a degradation in service, but Apple are trying to market the new maps feature as an improvement

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    You'd think that they would have checked there Maps.... Colchester, UK has clouds all over the area so you can't see anything in Satellite Mode, what you can see is very dark and undetailed Vs Google Maps.. very disappointed as I use the iPhone for navigation from time to time.


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