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 764.

    "I am expecting a candle lit vigil outside stores"

    LOL, not likely, they'll not be able to find the stores!

  • rate this

    Comment number 763.

    @756 Maceo,

    As a user of both, I'd say Nokia led in mapping and navigation but most people on this board wouldn't understand that view as they only know of Apple and Android.
    Sure, half the journeys I make relying on Nokia navigation include at least one annoyance, such as late warning of a turn when I'm in the wrong lane or inconsistent routes depending on the weather but otherwise quite nice!

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    Apple has made a complete utter mess of my area. It has even added a train station (Halton Station) which was closed by Beaching in the 1960's. They have also failed to show local schools and major companies/shops. All they have included, at least in my area is golf clubs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 761.

    Cont. 725: Mapping is not a new or emerging technology; many manufacturers have been doing it for years, if not decades. Why didn't Apple partner with a market expert for DEVELOPMENT, not just data? Cupertino's QA team should never have let this see the light of day in its current state, it's so far below market standards it looks seriously amateurish. Way to shoot yourself in the foot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 760.

    can you imagine, waiting outside the shop 30+ hours and nothing to do except read that the phone your wasting precious time on is going to be a huge disappointment.

    Actually, their iPhone 4s would be dead by now and no way to swap out the battery. So they proberbly don't know they are buying into an unfinished product.

    Yes they can update it, but they will just release another before its sorted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 759.

    I am surprised Frank Lund is using a computer and internet to post messages...what is wrong with quills and parchment anyway ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 758.

    Replacing a product that has had a decade of R&D, user input and improvements to shove their own shoddy software over a silly patent argument. These companies need to grow up before they lose the respect and interest of the consumer

  • rate this

    Comment number 757.

    I am just comparing both maps now. Undoubtably google maps is better. However it is far from perfect. The town I live in has two libraries when looking on satellite view one of which is half a mile down the road from the actual location. Apples maps has got this in the correct place. I guess not even Google maps is without its problems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 756.

    The company second to Google in terms of mapping and navigation is Nokia. I for once am staying out of the politics and going with Nokia and Microsoft. They seem to be the only ones providing any real decent innovation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 755.

    @742 Maceo,

    I'm not saying that. Others are saying Apple is replacing Google Maps with their own to avoid paying to licenses fees to Google.
    I'm saying that whoever controls the maps has control over the context, the location based shopping, offers, online searches, consumer habits data etc. This is the most valuable thing in mobile phones. Apple want a slice rather than Google taking it all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 754.

    Typical Apple arrogance, of not giving their customers a choice.

    Colchester is covered by cloud, so is nigh-on invisible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 753.

    Maybe it's a sociological experiment, along with the new phone, to see how far they can push the apple fan boys before they pop?

  • rate this

    Comment number 752.

    What is an iphone..?

  • rate this

    Comment number 751.

    Here we go again. Highest rated are from android fan boys and lowest rated from Apple fan boys. Me, I am waiting for windows 8.

  • rate this

    Comment number 750.

    Perhaps you have to hold the phone in a certain way with a certain number of fingers and the map thing will work properly.

    Remember - you read it here first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 749.

    After reading these comments, how relieved am I that I haven't updated my iOS. Apple seemed to have been able to do no wrong, so this is such a huge error of judgment for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 748.

    "If you miss Google Maps that much get a cheap Android phone & see how you like their poor build quality and buggy software."

    Or buy a better Android phone (still for less than an iPhone) and enjoy the better OS and better build quality...

    ...really, you're trying too hard to defend Apple. There's a reason Samsung and Android now lead the market. This article sums it up: Apple are shoddy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 747.

    apple want to rule the world but cant even make a map so do you all want to do it the apple way still, not me you get to big and want eveyone to do it your way but you have failed sorry apple your rubbish and its starting to show

  • rate this

    Comment number 746.

    Android 1 - 0 Apple... Simples!

  • rate this

    Comment number 745.

    @Stephen Ellerington (733)
    "iOS 6 Map app has turn by turn navigation, a huge improvement on Google Maps....If you miss Google Maps ... get a cheap Android phone & see how you like their poor build quality and buggy software."

    Err... Google maps on Android has turn by turn navigation, and the route is overlaid onto street view (you can't do that now on iOS 6). And your point is...?


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