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 364.

    Search for Man Utd and you get Sale United, a community team for five year olds and above. Sounds about right to me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    Also, why should Apple roll out an incomplete, under development app to users who currently have a fully working fully developed Google app.
    To those posters who point out Google maps is still available online, thats fine but the app works offline whereas the internet doesn't.
    I am guessing that the Google streetview feature which is incredibly useful is not in the Apple version, some UPgrade!

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    I don't get why people are do quick to defend or attack something that is going to be obsolete and irrelevant in no time although this little appleites vs people with more a fair sense is quite funny so do continue at least for my entertainment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    The new map app is terrible. The route it took me to get to work was insane. I live 1/2 a mile from a Motorway junction, yet Maps took me to the one 2 miles away, situated before it, only to have me drive down the motorway and through my normal junction.
    The satellite textures are diaboloical too. Dark, bad shadows, and incredibly low resolution.

    I can't believe they thought it was ready.

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.

    Apple is the new Microsoft

  • Comment number 359.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    How iPhone5 was developed. R&D engineer put an image of the iphone4 into paint and expanded the image and taadaa iphone5 20% bigger and 11% smaller. Basic maths people. Not a ground breaking design. Waste of money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    I was completely gutted, as my Samsung Galaxy Tab was no match for my boss's ipad showing 3D views of Sydney harbour! It looked totally amazing and as he knows I'm a massive map/app fan, he could see how jealous I was. However, I have an app which is called Mydirections, which not only shows me satelite/traffic views, it also shows streetview on half the screen. Love it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    The maps are indeed absolutely dire. Considering the huge attention to detail Apple have always shown, I am amazed that they have released this pile of trash. As someone who has heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem I do hope this isn't a sign of things to come. If it is, then I believe Apple's decline starts here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    I just tried the same search for Tickhill, and I get all the roads on the map. The satellite image is still blurry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    The reason Apple stopped using Google maps is because Google were unsurprisingly holding back the new features from the iOS version such as turn by turn navigation. You can't argue that Google is the king of maps, and you can always use the maps (with gps/direction) from within Safari and put a shortcut on your home screen. So if you want to blame anyone, blame Google.

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    I had an Android phone, but accessibility was non-existent. The iPhone's accessibility is second to none, it's extremely easy for the visually impaired to use. Apple appear to care about my needs more than Android phone makers do.

    But I need mapping that works.

    Can't switch back to inaccessible Android, can't upgrade iOD because I need working maps.

    Why is it so hart to get a phone right?

  • rate this

    Comment number 352.

    Perhaps Aple should spend more money on R&D and less on litigation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    cont.. That methodology only works if your products work! If they don't, you incense and drive away your customers, slowly at first, then exponentially as the alternative suppliers reap up the revenue and use it to develop their products to an even higher standard. It's a dangerous path to walk. BTW I AM an Apple fan: ipod, iphone, ipad, imac, macbook, mac pro. iphone swapped for Google - Nexus S.

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    Ah.. so they couldn't find the tax office.. That must be why they only paid a fraction of it. Lets celebrate by sending them cash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    Apple have made a wise choice here regarding their mapping software, any better and it might be considered copyright infringement by Google. And I'm sure Google would love the opportunity to sue Apple for copyright infringement!

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    The Sale under 5s in place of Man Utd is not an error. It's a comment

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    Will all the cash apple has it should buy GOOGLE. Apple will than be able to role back or stop android (ios's cheap copy) and use google maps for ios devices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

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

    Why are you on the internet even? A newspaper, no battery required. Why use cars? use your legs, again no battery required.

    and Youtube has an official iOS app now. Look in app store

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    There's a difference between an app which is not perfect and one which is unusable. Half of Harrogate is totally blurred or in cloud. This should never have been released in this state. Where was the quality control? Jobs will turn in his grave. To replace Google Maps with such an unfinished product is inexcusable.


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