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 464.

    I have to say I was a bit put off getting the new iPhone and this is the final straw for me.

    I think windows 8 is going to take off, and with so many smartphone makers getting behind windows phone 8 and apparently better devices than iPhone too I think it might be time for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    The maps are ridiculous. Shops, restaurants and pubs in my local area are all in the wrong places on the maps. Some are miles away from there actual location or are now sat where other businesses used to be, they've been deleted altogether! I took one look at it and formed the view very quickly that I shan't bother trying to use it to give me directions anywhere. I've no idea where I'd end up!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    It seems Apple just wants to distance itself from Google as quickly as possible, and as a consequence has taken an unusual step of rushing to produce an inferior alternative. I guess they realise software can quickly be updated before losing too many fans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    Question : Will Google step in and create a native app for IOS6 and retain the IOS users business or will they stick to Android exclusivity and potentially let Apple catch up and steal revenue?

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    Rory was nearly crying then, Bless him. Apple have fallen over.

    Problem is I feel the big looser in all of this was the world leader, Ordinance Survey. They really have lost out,

    Tom Tom have always been rubbish and Google have spent big money and big time on this, the turtle neck crowd cannot catch up as fast as they thought. Maybe a learning curve? Cracks are showing

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    Well, this will teach everyone that a fashion statement phone isn't everything, rushing out to buy it without testing it first.
    Sticking to my slick windows phone, never crashes, displays everything correctly and the maps work. You can talk to it too, just like an apple!

    Roll on windows 8, but I won't upgrade until they bring out a phone with a slide out keyboard like my HTC Pro 7.

    Try it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    I always thought I lived in Doncaster but the map says Duncaster! Not impressed at all

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    More fool those that buy these over exspensive pieces of tat and be tied in to 2 years contracts

    I have a phone that cost me £10 (just text and calls) new and use my original BT Cellnet sim in it and the ONLY reason I use that phone is because my old 'brick' became difficult to get batteries for

    And I still miss the weight on my belt (hard to lose) and my old phone was almost 'bulletproof' also

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    Don't plan a visit to Snowdon this weekend - it's in downtown Montreal according to Apple. My town is split in half, one half colour other half black and white. No quality testing done by the developers?
    I need Streetview so back to IOS 5 . I think they pulled Google maps in a fit of pique and released a BETA version of their app.

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    I'd hate to disagree, I've found it quicker and clear as a bell. But them I'm using the map not the satellite image, but that's because I want to know where I'm going and I'm not stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    The best thing about Apple products is that they just work....

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    well come on every this is apple what do you think they have a product that was half as good as Google maps. they cannot even get place name right lol.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    Ah Apple fans, always looking to the next release. Yes, Google had issues with maps initially but they didn't claim that it would solve all your problems in one fell swoop. They started small and grew on a solid base adding function and data slowly. Apple took the short cut and built from the top down by buying the technology piecemeal and now they are reaping the rewards of their "innovation".

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    This would be a deal breaker for me. If it isn't fixed my next phone will be Android....(or Windows)

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    @ 421.OmniCognate, lol, the point of maps is to show you where a town, city, street etc is, not much use if they delete areas cause they take up to much space, kinda like taking the tyres off a car, makes it fairly useless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    I decided to try newly loaded iOS6 Map's Sat Nav on the way to work. Was all going well until I started to approach the junction, where I was due to turn off to my destination. It suggested that I 'bear right'. This instruction would've sent me in to the fast lane, the exact opposite lane I needed to be in to turn off. I do this route everyday so ignored it but what if I didn't know the route?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    Not a problem for Windows Phones...

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.


    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..."

    I've yet to figure how to remove that horrible thing called Safari. I feel a court case coming on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    "Tommy B Cool" Siri now works in the UK for location listings, and is really impressive in iOS6. Check it out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    its a good idea to do things in house but only when you make an improvement. Whoever tested must have been dreaming on a winters day.

    Missing roads
    bad or missing satellite images
    wrong locations

    But its ok all the Woolworth's stores are back!

    Off now to drive across 4 fields to get my pick and mix!


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