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 344.

    Oh dear Apple! You'll be hoisted by your own petard! Customer-bullying doesn't work. A store can refuse to stock a named brand and only offer its substandard alternative, but you can always shop elsewhere! Users should WANT to use your software because it's the BEST, not because you've removed every alternative and locked down any workaround... cont...

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    I think many have missed the point. Whilst no software is perfect and with time i am sure this will develop into a good product, people's anger is directed at Apple because users upgrading to IOS6 have no choice but to use this feature.
    The upgrade strips off the current Google app with no choice to use it or the Apple one

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Is it not more news-worthy that Apple has secured a patent for software changes that allow them to limit or remove functionality of your own phone remotely? Apple now has a patent for software that hands your phone over to them, allowing them to shut it off, limit functions or put it to sleep as and when they deem appropriate. Please cover that VITAL change, it's a fundamental breach of freedom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    The new map app has also removed the street view capability. So it is inaccurate and has functionality removed.

    Well done Apple

    Anyone got a recommend for a non iPad tablet to buy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    I've always enjoyed my iPhone but the mapping is terrible at times. I've just tested out my home City. Not a village or a hamlet or a disused barn, but a city. The second biggest city in Wales!

    This isn't a good thing to see when I'm thinking about upgrading my handset to the '5'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    If you want google maps on your iPhone, simply go to google maps in Safari and add a bookmark to you home screen.
    Then the next time you need it it will be there.
    Same applies to youtube.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    My wife installed iOS6 and I noticed Google maps was replaced. I looked at the new mapping app and decided to not update mine.

    Good 'ol Apple deciding what the user wants for us. Hopefully they'll allow Google to put their own map app in the App Store.

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    Have Samsung got another billion dollars set aside for their next stab at copying the iPhone? I hope buyers of their phones realise that's coming straight out of their pockets when the next handset comes out. I'll judge how annoyed they are about that by how many 'minuses' I get on my post, the more the better

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    Hmm, very 'innovative' Apple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    @290. OldHooky
    "So much fuss, so much expectation. A map, no battery required."

    A battery of a different kind required! or start living in a cave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    just one botch after another up at Apple these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    TomTom maps have always been based on population density (as per the original TeleAtlas maps bough by TomTom in 2008. I am not surprised that they might not have sufficient detail in less populated areas. Google have their own mapping services. As for "satellite" view again its a question of providers, dont know who Google uses, but it looks like Apple uses DigitalGlobe, same as Bing maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Apple had sufficient time to test this - do not forget they even CHARGE developers to get early access to iOS and OS X builds who send feedback to Apple.

    I'm very glad I moved to the Samsung S3 after owning an iPhone 4 for two years. Getting a bit tired of Apple's spats with the rest of the world now. Can't we all just get along?

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    Yet another mess-up with their locked-down proprietary software and hardware? I'm surprised Apple haven't sued themselves for patent infringement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    Back in the mists of time an ancestor of Steve Jobs released the iWheel. It was pretty, beautifully finished, gave a unique user experience - trouble was it was square.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    I've been saying for a while now that it's only a matter of time before Apple make a colossal balls-up and become as hated as Microsoft. It looks like they're well on the way down that road already.

    I can understand not bothering to put Solihull on the map though. :o)

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Think i'll keep my iPad at ios5 and not buy an iPhone... job done. Vote with your feet and a reversal is possible - just look at facebook.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    This is the latest in a recent line of BBC articles following the same thread:
    Apple = overpriced, litigious, poorly engineered etc.
    Samsung et al = versatile, underdog, overall better.
    It's down to personal choice for the consumer but please level the playingfield, BBC, rather than become a mouthpiece for Samsung.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    To the people saying it's new and needs time to bed in... The problem is that users HAD a decent mapping system prior to the upgrade. Mapping is not a new feature or some kind of technology that no other handset has. Mapping has been a core component of the iphone since it's lauch and as such represents a backwards step for Apple's customers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    I think only a rich idiot would buy Apple products now, very poor. I've handed back our iPhone 5 trails, we're ordering 500 Samsung phones in my company.


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