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 824.

    If you cannot get to work without using these gadgets, then perhaps you should not be in employment or driving a vehicle, as evidently your IQ falls somewhere between the number of toes you have and your age when you became eligible to vote.

    The aforesaid being the case maybe you ought not vote for anyone or anything as you are so dependent on this trash, you're a menace.

    You sad people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 823.

    Its very unlike apple to release something so inferior & untested
    anyone else smell another law suit on the horizon?

    apple vs google/android

    what other possible reason could there be to remove google maps before getting their own version right.
    either that or apple have taken this obsession of keeping it all in house to a whole new level.

    either way its the customer & the brand that suffers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 822.

    Too much litigation to think about instead of concentrating on custumers needs.
    Apple used to care about quality, is this the beginning of the end of the line?
    Not only are maps a problem but Many users of ios6 now suffer wi-fi problems or cant load prepaid apps.
    Google & Samsung must be laughing their socks off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 821.

    Mixed feelings, haven't used it for directions but put in an address and got the wrong street about half a mile away from the actual location. On the plus side actually got my address including directions to it unlike Google map (which is only correct because I sent them the correct directions):

  • rate this

    Comment number 820.

    Watch out, a fanboy has just logged on and started downrating all the apple critical comments. Yawn...time for bed...Will be laughing myself silly at all the applehynotised media backtracking on their 5 star reviews tomorrow...sweet dreams android users. Applecores, your bedroom is ummm...well I'm sure its around somewhere...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 819.

    Really disappointed with Apple maps - Apple is usually leading the field, but not this time round. I now live in a black and white area! How I wish I hadn't upgraded to IOS6.

  • rate this

    Comment number 818.

    Poverty, starvation, war, disease, just a few of the things a little more important than a map app. Get real, get an A-Z and get over it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 817.

    Fussaboutnothing - do you work for Apple ? - people want APPS that "Just work" - isn't that Apple's tag line ?....I take it can't work for Apple - they are saying nothing and treating their customers with the usual contempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 816.

    Oh dear; another 'bright' iDea

  • rate this

    Comment number 815.

    Yes, google maps are still available using safari on an iOS device. Sure, but the mapping application uses location data to allow you to interactively find your way to a place. The worst part of this is (and I haven't yet updated to iOS6) is that, like most Apple upgrades it's a one way trap. Not surprised at the comments. Was less than impressed when I heard TomTom were the prime data source.

  • rate this

    Comment number 814.

    It seems that people can't survive without street view..........seriously?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 813.

    Having a map that gives inaccurate data is as useful as an inflatable dartboard.

  • Comment number 812.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 811.

    Google maps is functional in the Safari browser in iOS 6, as I just verified. If an app is desired, Mapquest has a fine app. Y'all ought to stop whinging.

  • rate this

    Comment number 810.

    Apple Knew it.
    I'm a great fan of Apple and am surprised that they have knowingly released a faulty SW product that (a) does not match their advertised specification, (b) would knowingly disappoint and irate existing users, and (c) have a detrimental affect on their reputation. This has been done in order to hurry to market in time for the annual 'event' and to take a swipe at Google & Android.

  • rate this

    Comment number 809.

    I bet google are frantically checking their data. After all Apple will probably claim that they have a patent on innacurate data, low resolution images, and cloud cover.

  • rate this

    Comment number 808.

    I'm glad to see we are now able to use the word 'crap', after my complaint to HYS for removing posts containing this very gentle slang word as a useful substitute for the word we really want to use when talking about Apple products. A victory for common sense, thank you HYS :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 807.

    @805 Dundee

    Of course they won't see that. Apple has no competitors of course.

  • Comment number 806.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 805.

    Once again Apple reinvents the wheel and claim they're amazing (cf iPhone 3's new ability to copy and paste.) Google Maps has been around for years and is brilliant.

    Perhaps Apple users will now see that just because a product has an Apple logo on it does not mean it is as anywhere near as 'innovative' as their competitors.


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