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
    +143

    Comment number 122.

    Look on the bright side - if you get some irritating big-head showing off their new Apple device in the local pub and they won't shut up about it, you can now tell them to get lost. And they probably will. ;-)

  • rate this
    +114

    Comment number 20.

    I bet the maps have got all the right directions for getting to Starbucks, Hollister and, of course, the nearest Apple Store.

    That's all the information an Apple user really needs.

  • rate this
    +108

    Comment number 43.

    Both Google and Microsoft offerings are now far better than Apple's. The iphone 5 has a smaller screen than competitors, no user-changeable battery, and an OS that looks very tired and out of date with no widget / live tile functionality. And now they've removed an excellent mapping app and replaced it with their own shonky one. They need to up their R&D spend, they're getting left behind.

  • rate this
    +91

    Comment number 41.

    Why did they even remove Google maps in the first place? Technology improves much faster when we work together.
    On a related note, how come Microsoft products got bashed for shipping with IE, when Apple are now forcing users to use this mapping software...

  • rate this
    +78

    Comment number 30.

    DaveH
    4 MINUTES AGO
    I didn't think it was that bad... But it will improve in time.

    Google maps had much to improve when it first came along too!

    Or has everyone forgotten that?

    --

    Yes but it is already years ahead of Apple's system. As a consumer, I wouldn't want to be playing catch-up on a key smartphone feature when a better alternative is already available.

 

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