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 424.

    One small step for Apple, a giant leap backwards for mankind.

    Android + Google + Java >>>>>> Apple + TomTom + Objective C

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    You can still use Google maps on the iOS6. Just type in and add it to your home screen. So it isn't a native app, but a web app, but it has all the functionality of Google Maps from iOS5. I guess some people have nothing better to do than complain or more often than not on HYS, troll!

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    @406 danielsimms.

    ok simmer point is we are becoming OVER reliant on technology. this "must have" attitude is wrong. we managed fine before, and although new tech always helps, we shouldnt RELY SOLELY on it. the app can be as good as it wants, till your battery dies or you lose signal, then you WILL NEED a hard copy of a map...IF you actually know how to read one, of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    Calm down people, this is simply an Apple design insight. Solihull was unnecessary, wasteful and inelegant. Rather than leaving it cluttering up the UI, they have decided to remove it. The result is cleaner and smarter. I find it rather beautiful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    I've just used the app for a journey from Portsmouth to Plymouth, it gave the same best route as AA website and the ETA was very accurate
    No problems at all, the aerial photos of my home are also more up to date than Google

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    Jobs would never have let it go out of the door in that state. Making profits are good, but don't forget that Apple came close to death before in the 90s when they had vision-less businessmen running them with no attention to detail.

    Paying the Apple premium is good when things work better and are less hassle than rivals. But it seems this is no longer true, hello Nokia Lumia 920 for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    So the app may be poor, that won't stop the Apple fan base carrying on throwing their money at Apple for that's company's over-priced merchandise. Especially when you have the BBC acting as one of Apple's main advertising channels. Last night Andrew Marr even thought it a good idea to give a plug to the iPad on The one Show.

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    So Apple-Maps is a slavish and poor copy of Google-Maps? ...isn't that what Apple were slating Samsung for with their smartphones?
    The hypocrisy of Apple is astounding, in their eyes and in the eyes of their followers they can do no wrong and everyone else is a villain. I think people would be more forgiving if they weren't so arrogant saying they are so much better than anyone else!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    Oh well, if an iphone user gets lost, they can always ask someone with an android for directions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 415.

    Do the maps show the mines in DR Congo where the most appauling human rights abuses take place routinely to provide cheap materials for mobile phones?

    Ah, who cares - I don't need maps to keep my head buried in the sand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    LOL and yet the sheep contiune to buy apple The I stands for somthing here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    This is hilarious! What do the Yanks know about geography anyway? All this goes to show once again is that you can't beat a proper map printed on paper. At least you won't have any clouds on paper-printed maps!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.


  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    i guess iOS6.1 isn't too far away now then...

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    Anyone looking for accurate, detailed maps of the UK need look no further than OpenStreetMap, the completely free and open source map that anyone can edit. Quality varies from place to place, but in my particular area every house is on there, even down to garden fences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    If I was google I would just sit back and watch; Fanboys love apple how many of them do you think will now realise that apple does not love them. Not that it will stop them from buying the phone or tablet, someone said that useability trumps functionality well I'm going to try and mash my potatoes with my iphone
    . As far as I can see having an iphone means you have lots of money, (sorry Had lots)

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    Apple were clearly trying to hurt Google by dumping its map support from ios. Unless things get better quickly, I can't help thinking they've done them a huge favour - potential iphone customers who rely on maps are going to have a good reason to switch to Android.

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    2 Minutes ago

    "Apple need to remember they became the most affluent company in the world on the back of excellent products"

    i think you will find it was aggressive marketing as opposed to quality. ALL apple products suffer in this way. try installing new hardware in a mac. £900 for five years, then its out of date (low ram, needs to be sent away for upgrade). hardly quality

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    When going somewhere we can now find out where the place is, how to get there, what it looks like when we are there, how long the journey will take and the fuel cost within a few key strokes. That’s not being "lazy" that's progress and efficiency. but you just stick to your A-Z while you’re at it you should switch your pc off, get your pen and paper out and send us all a letters

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    Ah just think of the money Apple will make with the upgrade if they sell one.


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