Apple loses its way with maps


Rory compares Apple's new map app with Google maps

Apple and Google used to be very close, with YouTube and Google Maps given pride of place on every iPhone, iPad and iPod. But since the launch of Android, which saw Google become a rival force in the mobile market, they have been increasingly at odds.

Now Apple's new mobile operating system iOS6 has arrived without a YouTube app and, far more controversially, a new mapping system.

Apple is proud of Maps, with its turn-by-turn navigation and its 3D flyover view allowing you to swoop over the landscape.

But early users seem far from convinced that this is an upgrade from Google Maps. Amongst their complaints, the lack of Streetview (now a popular Google feature), little detail of the road system in the UK, and poorer satellite images - including the fact that much of Scotland appears covered in cloud.

More seriously, some places seem to have moved or been lost altogether. Search for Luton, for instance, and you will find it has been relocated to the Devon coast. Manchester United Football Club appears to have relocated to Sale, where it is sharing grounds with a community football club.

I've been contacted by a few people who say the new maps aren't bad for a first try - and that it has taken Google years to perfect their product. But that does not sound like much of an excuse for a company that prides itself on not releasing any product until it is perfect.

Rory Cellan-Jones Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    as usual, BBC tech articles focus on Apple vs Google, without mentioning the excellent Nokia map/drive application that's been working brilliantly for years on both Symbian and now Windows phones, with off line coverage in many more countries than the rivals' systems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    If you drive along the A38/A380 there is a signpost telling you to turn off towards Luton in Devon so is it neccessarily wrong ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    You're just holding it wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    The reason Apple ditched Google maps is because their licence agreement with Google has come to an end as has their YouTube app. If Google wish I am sure Apple will let them submit a free app as they have with YouTube. Apple do not want to develop apps for Google and pay Google for the privilege. If Google wants their products on the iPhone they will have to do the development themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    I spoke too soon. It works but no street view. Well done Apple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    My wife has an Ipad 2 which we updated to IOS 6. Google maps is still on it and working perfectly. The Apple maps by Tom Tom are pretty poor by any standard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Its time Apple starts to pay back its customers!!!

    Buying another map app will only benefit Apple as it will get the 20% or commission on it.

    As Apple would put it... We have made the maps even better!

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    "Some people seem to be basing their entire argument of the iPhone being poor because of press attention of this one application"

    Oh certainly not. There's a small army of reasons why the iPhone is poor. This is just one that has amusing visuals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    @80. No it like an expensive car being bad because the Sat Nav is rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Apple should at least give consumers a choice, They have chose to ditch Google maps, an app that most people use because of it's accurate & high quality images, something missing so far with Apples attempt. I have read elsewhere that Google have a map app waiting for ios 6 but are waiting for Apple to give the go ahead, Give us consumers the choice Apple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Some people seem to be basing their entire argument of the iPhone being poor because of press attention of this one application. Is an expensive car deemed rubbish because the radio doesn't pick up some FM stations?

    Like the Galaxy S3, it's a very good phone, so let's get a bit of perspective here (while I await inevitable minus ratings).

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    how the mighty have fallen. Its inconceivable that Steve Jobs would have launched this. Maybe the bosses are so taken up with court cases that they forgot what their business is. Together with lots of other shortcomings (you can't now use Photoshop Elements to place libraries on the iPAD) it looks like we are seeing the descent to ground of the apple jamboree

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    As a developer, if I used the excuse that the previous version of someone else's product wasn't great at the start I'd not be in work. When you develop you know what is already out there, what your competitors can do, and you have to aim to at least equal what they offer, why would any sane person create something worse?
    Apple needed to offer something comparable with Google Maps,and they didn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    What is worrying is the failure of Apple's quality control which permitted a shoddy piece of work to reach the market and sully its hard won reputation for excellence. There aren't just a few errors, it is awesomely wrong. It isn't rocket science to compare, as many have done, Google's map with Apple's for a locality. Just a few of those should have set management's alarm bells ringing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    @68 Rodney's uncle - I can honestly I've never had any serious issues with my Android Apps. That's after over 3 years of use. Google Maps and navigation have always been excellent for me, better than Tom Tom units that people I know had paid hundreds for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Reading through the comments on here is funny, every comment that says something posetive about Apple their ratings are - something and not 0 or +. lol Are these Android tolls?

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I suppose people who just follow the crowd don't really need a map.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Well now you truly are stuck in the walled garden and there's no hope of finding your way out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    "65. Dave Derrick
    I'm sure Apple will make up for its poor performance loses by simply suing someone else."

    Like these :

    "Microsoft defeats Google over a third patent in Germany"

    We have the ability to think so it's sad when people don't look at the bigger picture but only bother to see bad in one person / company / country / organisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I think we need to be very clear that maps is a cash cow for Google which datamines everything users browse to, receive and store with them and uses that data in a very opaque way to derive revenue. Google is no less evil than its competitors, and for me, the mapping app in iOS6 performs fine. It is an over the air service which can and will be improved. Don't be too quick to become hysterical!!


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