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 704.

    Quote "691. sleepygeek

    This isn't Apple's doing, it's Google's "


    What a mug to actually believe the rubbish that comes out of Apple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 703.

    "Dissappointed that Google haven't acted to create a maps app for the App Store though." Given that Apple have to approve any apps, they're not going to be in a rush to sanction a rival product!! Google have great apps. You just have the wrong platform.

  • rate this

    Comment number 702.

    @691: "The data contract for maps is presumably up 5 years after the first iPhone".

    "Presumably". So you don't know. And "presumably" Apple never made any attempt to consider what might happen if they and Google didn't get on with each other? Bad business... "presumably". And of course it's never Apple's fault, is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 701.

    Apple ain't the company it used to be.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 700.

    7 Minutes ago
    Get a life all of you. The Ordnance Survey do very good maps.


    The most reliable OS of the lot is Ordnance Survey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 699.

    Why dont all you people try using your brain instead of a phone app??
    Peejkerton - surely you know which motorway junction to use and Howard, do you have to use a map to find your daughters house? Is it really worth moaning about? I cant stand it when people blame the sat nav or apps for getting lost, get a life people, use your eyes, your brains and think for yourselves!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 698.

    Why the fuss? Google Maps are poor (low contrast for example) so Apple maps have just taken that a little bit further. Neither are a patch on Ordnance Survey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 697.

    In the scheme of things does it matter if Apple map is lesser than google map? Or if your phone is a computer/hifi/camera/toy?
    You are not being sold anything new just another medium that needs charged and will end up as land fill as soon as the next fashionable thing comes along.

  • rate this

    Comment number 696.

    @689 SMIDG3T

    What? It looks like after 5 years of being in the business, Apple have managed to make a royal mess of something that people liked just to suit their own greedy purpose and you suggest people wait to have an opinion?

    In the meantime, would you suggest that people that have a need for directions to places should buy a paper map to back up their iPhone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    Just now
    This isn't Apple's doing, it's Google's.
    The Apple apologists are out in focre, there beloved company can do no wrong. With blind devotion such as this, it'll be a while before the true colours of the Emperoros new clothes can be fully seen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 694.

    Yet another pile of junk from Apple, but the "aficionados" will swear by it and claim it is better because it is from Apple.

    More fool them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.

    Nobody said it was supposed to work properly, it's only a fashion accessory - Apple that is, not the map software.

  • rate this

    Comment number 692.

    Wish I hadn't updated to iOS 6... Apparently my house is the hospital that was knocked down over 8years ago. Oh dear. Was looking forward to the new maps - poor and passbook - nothing so far for the uk... The only good thing is 'do not disturb'. Glad I haven't wasted money upgrading my 4s o the 5! Very poor apple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 691.

    This isn't Apple's doing, it's Google's. The data contract for maps is presumably up 5 years after the first iPhone, and Google has switched several years ago from partner with CEO on Apple's board of directors to competitor and enemy. Two and a half years ago, Steve Jobs told Apple staff: "Make no mistake: they want to kill the iPhone. We won't let them..This don't be evil mantra? It's bullshit."

  • rate this

    Comment number 690.

    I was, with hindsight and possibly naively, expecting a full Apple satnav program as part of iOS6. Apple plugged this as turn-by-turn navigation but my 10 year old satnav was far better. You have to wonder how a slick operator like Apple can cock this up so royally. It begs the question: did anyone test this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    OK, as an avid Apple fan, I admit, it's not ready and it's not good if I'm honest. They should of left it out of iOS 6 and included it in iOS 6.1. But what's that word I'm thinking of? Oh, yes. Improvement. Apple will be working on this right now as we speak trying to improve it. Once they finally sort it out, cast your opinions then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    Firstly, I love iOS. For me it is the gold standard in usability.

    However, I hate Apple. They are a greedy business. They are happy to sacrifice the customer and the quality of their product just so that they don't have any features provided by their biggest competitor on their smartphone, and that's just sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    Good old Apple - more style over substance. Looks like something from the early 80's

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    side by side comparison of apple maps and google maps, the start of the video looks at the states so it doesn't suffer from misplaced towns or absent villages but just wait until it looks for heathrow

    Just says it all really, if this is innovation then I am heading down to the patent office tomorrow with a number of bound pages that I'm calling a BOOK

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    Not surprising. I can't wait to get rid of my ipad and get a Surface. At least the Surface will be good for more than just games and Facebook posts.


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