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
    -2

    Comment number 744.

    @733
    Hahaha what? I think it's amazing you are cheering turn by turn navigation in this day and age!
    You don't need a poor quality cheap Android phone to enjoy Google maps. Just stick with your iPhone 4 and don't upgrade.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 743.

    I've found the new Map app seems to be comprised of decades old satellite images. Our area in Scotland is nothing but fuzz, all you can see are rivers. It's very bad press for TomTom if their data is being used. Even if it isn't TomToms fault they are going to feel the impact of this.

    As iDevice users we are getting short shrift and hope they can repair or replace this dreadful app!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 742.

    @730

    So what you saying is that Apple the worlds richest company is more concerned about not paying Google and giving its customers a much worse experience in return? Apple's ego and behaviour has got them into this mess.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 741.

    Won't be buying an iPhone or iPad then.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 740.

    Very amusing...... I'm not a an apple fan....LOL

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 739.

    I'm an Apple die hard. Whoever in Apple signed off on this map crap should be fired. I can't believe I downloaded this rubbish onto my phone. Can't believe Apple has such disregard for its loyal customers and its good name. Apple you really have messed up big time.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 738.

    People just don't get the Apple iStyle, that's all. The iMaps are really beautiful and Mac people prefer artistic interpretation of place rather than a slavish obsession with clarity, usefulness and, er, accuracy. For example, iLive in Herefordshire and iLove the crazy way iMaps interpret my address as somewhere in Ukraine. iSay, get real, you iO6-knockers.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 737.

    I posted this on a social network site. Got howls of abuse from iOwners but I don't care, they can't find my address :D

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 736.

    Re #722: Apple ordered an audit of Foxconn because they were under a lot of public pressure. Besides, nothing has happened as a result; working conditions are as bad as ever.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 735.

    Apple is heading into danger. Loyalty to a premium priced product line must be earned. Hype and marketing only goes so far. Is the company losing its way?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 734.

    The new Apple Map is dreadful. We have lost Street View as well as having to put up with poor quality mapping and satellite images which are not as good as before. Street View is so useful for route planning - you can spot landmarks. I use it to research holiday locations even to retrace family history locations. Apple needs to think again, we have lost one of the most useful things on an iPad.

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 733.

    iOS 6 Map app has turn by turn navigation, a huge improvement on Google Maps for iOS. It may not be 100% accurate but then neither is Google Maps. I am sure that the iOS 6 Map app will improve over time & that Google Maps will not be missed by the majority of iPhone users. If you miss Google Maps that much get a cheap Android phone & see how you like their poor build quality and buggy software.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 732.

    The phrase 'if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it' couldn't be more apt. Google maps with street view was one if not the best app on the iPhone/iPad, the one I use more than any. Gutted. One small step for man, one mahoosive giant step backwards for mankind.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 731.

    Not suprised: I've worked with Apple for thirty years now, in Europe and Cupertino and I've seen an inexorable trend over the last 12-15 years, to shut down practically every local office in Europe and consolidate everything in the US. That inevitably leads to anywhere outside the US being seen as not mattering. Together with a lack of open testing and we have this problem, amongst others.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 730.

    @721
    Apple have only been in the mobile phone business for five years. Maybe they should have taken advice from you with all your experience.

    Perhaps you could let us know how much Apple paid for Google Maps and how much it is costing for their own maps and then we can see whether this is actually about the 'contract' rather than about monopolistic control over revenues generated from mapping.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 729.

    As a pedestrian user of Google Maps street view was one of the great features I used most often. When planning to move home street view saved me many hours in wasted time not to mention expense in checking out prospective new homes. Flyover is great when returning home on holiday to spot your own home but when travelling in strange towns street view was great in establishing good orientation.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 728.

    Seems like a massive own goal by Apple, and shows very succinctly how the iOS ecosystem would not be where it is without the work of others (i.e. not Apple). One of the things that made the iPhone cool was Google maps integration - methinks it's looking slightly less cool now....

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 727.

    Typical slash-burn philosophy of profit-making Apple these days, disabling backward compatibility and imposing their trash instead. This is why my computer is still on Snow Leopard, for example so as not to suffer the stupid Auto-save feature or to lose compatibility with PowerPC applications through Rosetta. They dumped Classic Environment in Leopard. This is neither novel nor shocking.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 726.

    Just use tomtom , it costs money yes but it's the best, it outstrips google maps massively, and I have looked at apple's offering and it's a joke. You get what you pay for, if you are serious about navigation and you rely on it as a business critical software, don't use free offering as you become stuck.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 725.

    @721 Apple has gone to legal war on the Android handset manufacturers over patents; now they've decided with iOS 6 that they don't want to use Google's mapping services; Jobs is on the record as declaring "thermonuclear war" on Android and Google, and I guess Tim Cook is following his lead - how exactly is the epic (and it IS epic) fail of the iOS 6 mapping app Google's fault?!

 

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