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 324.

    Any word on whether the maps in the US version are any better? After all, it's a US-based company. Also why should Google build an App for the Apple Store? You'd be giving a free app to a competitor who is building a competitive product (both App and Phone). Maybe Apple will patent the idea of a rubbish Maps App ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    This sort of thing is why I never update iOS on release day. This is also another reason (other than the ugly design of the new iPhone) for me to become a fandroid.

    Goodbye Apple it was a fun couple of iphone 4 filled years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    Apple have made a BIG, BIG mistake by moving away from Google Maps. I for one shall not be upgrading my iPhone 4 or iPad to iOS6 or upgrading to the iPhone 5 until there is a Google Map App released in the App Store.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    erm, again its still the same old chestnut that 'mine is better than yours'. had this with computers and consoles and now our phones! i personally dislike android to ios. just my preference. i also dislike the gigantic screens used on some of the newer alternatives to iphone, again this is personal choice, i dont think there is a right or wrong here. more choice is good yes?

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Google maps I love you so much: not only do you tell me how to get from a to b, you tell me what time is the next bus or train. Sometimes I think
    It's all just a strange dream.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Steve Jobs wasn't perfect but he had a passion for technology and knowing what the consumer wanted. Looks like Apple have replaced him with an accountant. Apple are obsessed with removing any other party from their phone, reducing R&D spend and squeezing every penny from their loyal fan base.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Another reason to bin Apple when I upgrade my 3GS to a Samsung Galaxy. Apple products are overpriced and overrated - fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Bottom line is Apple have got a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully now iOS users will take the blinkers off and realise how iLockin is actually detrimental to their user experience and . Hopefully, but probably not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    As people have said - 'Give Apple time its a new product'. Up to a point a agree with that but why not give ud the choice of which one to use (forcing me to use an inferior / useless app isn't acceptable.Maps are one of the main reasons i own a smart phone and now my IPhone is basically A phone. Last straw in my apple devotion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    I'm seriously hoping Google get a Maps app out soon. Unless Apple block it for "replicating core functionality". In that case expect an antitrust suit of epic proportions and crappy maps for years to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Look, We all know that Apple is about form over function. They have simply created an app to help you arrive somewhere fashionably late.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    No street view. Plus you are pushed outside the maps app to a third party if you want transit directions (e.g. bus stop from X to Y)

    Flyover disabled on iPhone 4. Turn by Turn Restricted to the same. There is literally little reason to downgrade, as by all opinions, this is a downgrade for a majority of the userbase.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    By tomorrow the fanboys will have convinced themselves that Apple maps is the greatest thing since sliced bread............and woe betide anyone who argues, of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    It's not thje first or last example of bad mapping or navigation applications.

    This house is tricky for some people to find because most sat nav databases direct them down a road which had bollards installed across it near one end about 20 years ago, and according to the Ofcom Sitefinder site (for finding local mobile phone transmitters) I'm in the middle of a 1/2 mile by two miles lake

  • Comment number 310.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Makes me glad I'm not an iPhone user..

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    The new one is actually much better. The Google one was five years out of date and had none of the Olympic zone road lay out changes. It would show Tate Modern as being in the middle of the Millennium bridge and if you didn't know the postcode would direct you to towns in the US rather than England. People like to bitch about change but this one is for the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    re: Kevin Morice 266

    Whyis this an editors choice comment?

    Kevin, Apple withdrew Google maps from the market.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    Am I the only person to think, if Steve Jobs were still alive, this would never have been released? I'm getting a horrible feeling of deja vu here ... anyone who was in IT in the 1980s will remember what happened last time Apple was without the Great Man at its helm. Let's hope history isn't about to repeat itself ... Google and Microsoft must be breaking out the Krug ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    As soon as I updated yesterday I noticed how shoddy the new service was. Glad it's not just me. A workaround? Go to Google maps in your browser and bookmark it to your phone's home screen. I won't be using Apple's poor attempt again and just wish that I could delete it from the phone altogether.


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