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 624.

    8 Minutes ago

    "just hope they improve it soon as sure apple invented maps on phone so will be sueing everone who coppied them"

    I wonder if this ironic?

    Nokia released a mapping app that included turn by turn directions sat nav over 4 months before the first Iphone was released!..Mind you that would not stop apple claiming that they had invented maps on a phone lol

  • rate this

    Comment number 623.

    To be fair apple shouldn't have bought map data off tom-tom as that system is wholly reliant up user feedback, something Apple has now found out. It's competition is good but forcing someone to use a flawed system by default is stupid. About time there was an anti trust lawsuit filed against them as happened to Microsoft.

  • rate this

    Comment number 622.

    There are definitely a few bugs. I have friends who live in the Dartmoor National Park, if you try to get directions to them, because the mapping things it's just the park, it directs you to the centre of it, not where the dropped pin is.

    Also, I found when you ask siri to give directions, I need to drive to Poland!

  • rate this

    Comment number 621.

    603. tizer6
    Watford has totally disappeared!


    Seriously though, I have always been a dual user, Android and Apple products and am generally impressed with Apple. However, I think this phone was released too early. More time is required in the Apple R&D dept. Look at the Nokia with its active icons. Apple should have done this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 620.

    No doubt well get the official response from Apple: "...Just avoid using the maps application in that way...". After all it's not the farmers fault that the sheep follow each other over the cliff is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 619.

    41. Adj
    How come Microsoft products got bashed for shipping with IE, when Apple are now forcing users to use this mapping software..

    Oh that one's easy. IE was quite simply dangerous! - No , but, seriously, you do make a good point. Apple do seem to get away with being very anticompetitive. Their level of control over their customers is very worrying. I hope the EU will do something about that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 618.

    Stratford-upon-Avon, Solihull and Uckfield are mapped correctly.  Solihull has lost its label and Uckfield's is displaced by 4 Km

    Images of locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud on Google Maps too.

    Search on Old Trafford or Manchester United FC to get straight to the stadium.

    Superb turn by turn navigation? Brilliantly detailed 3D mapping? Never mentioned.

    Same on you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 617.

    ....Apple don't need to worry. They can release any old rubbish and millions will buy it blindly. A couple of years ago, millions bought phones from Apple that could barely make phone calls too.
    I think this is one upgrade I can miss for a while.

    ....and while I remember.........hahahaha to iPhone 5 buyers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 616.

    Perhaps if they paid as much attention to their products as they do to filing law suits left right and centre and taking out ridiculous patents on everything they may actually be able to make their products work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 615.

    It's all a bit rich - the BBC commenting on the release of an IT-releated product that's not been tested properly, doesn't work properly & is seen (by it's users) as a step backwards.

    Apple say it'll improve & the BBC derides them yet when BBC made the same comments about their own (various) website (eg Sports) when they were launched BBC made the same comments.

    Which is pot and which is kettle?

  • rate this

    Comment number 614.

    I'm just glad someone is making attempts to use something else. We don't need google to have a monopoly on maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 613.

    Why even try to reinvent the wheel anyhow? Google spent a long time making Its maps what they are now... As usual Apple wants a piece of every pie, no doubt at everyone else's expense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 612.

    I am just amazed how many people seem to be so keen on getting every version of these gadgets...why?? it's just gadgets turning people into geeks, making life less fun and less social.. personally i love my nokia which i plan to have till it dies (long and long away), and instead spend money in restaurants and on great red wine and great hotels and trips to Paris ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 611.

    593. RobK

    "It's like people arguing about Hotpoint v Indesit washing machines"

    Yes, but Hotpoint does sue to ban Indesit machines because they are a white box of the same dimensions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 610.

    just hope they improve it soon as sure apple invented maps on phone so will be sueing everone who coppied them

  • rate this

    Comment number 609.

    Could this be Apple's 'Vista Moment'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 608.

    @585 Little Voice
    How quaint that there are maps without mobile signal. Nokia have been doing that for years too. I can't believe Apple users tolerate these 'just in time' maps really! It would be useless for me when I get lost out in the sticks as there would be no mobile signal to help me find out where I am either! Paper (or Nokia) surely has to be best.

  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    Well, the maps are indeed pretty bad, and information outdated or just plain wrong. Apparently, there's a cafe just down the road from where I live. The residents of the terraced house where its supposed to be (according to the maps app) should get ready for a deluge of visitors, and get their kettle on!

    A shame - I'm an Apple 'fan', but in this case, Google wins out :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 606.

    not really being foolish enough toi buy an apple product is like having your indisitm only able to wash colours on a monday jeans on a tuesday and not alloswing you to do any washing on a wednesday while the hotpoint says i wash clothes and dont care what day or what they are i work for you

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    I was unfortunate enough to be given an iphone for work use a fortnight ago. Whilst I admit that they do a lot of useful things I hate the way apple try to monopolise everything often making the simplest of tasks (installing a ringtone) a multi step process involving compulsary use of their software.

    If I were to biy a smart phone they would be bottom of my list.


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