iOS 6 Maps: Did Apple ditch Google too soon?

News Stacy Warden 09:42, Sep 20 2012

Apple's new mapping system is so flawed, it's driving grown men to tempter tantrums

iOS 6 has only been official for one day, but it took even less than 24 hours for the world to discover the pure crap-fest that is Apple's new mapping system. Grown men across the globe are throwing tech-fail temper tantrums as you read this. As it turns out, Apple may have severed ties with Google just a little too soon. 

A little background info ...

Apple has been using Google Maps since the dawn of its iPhone, and people loved it. Forget that the two companies now have rival operating systems; the ease of using a seamless navigation system across both of those platforms was like some kind of sweet gift from the mobile gods.

Outside of a few minor hiccups here and there, Google Maps was perhaps the best thing since sliced bread. But just ahead of its iOS 6 release, Apple kicked that relationship to the curb and announced it was working on its own homegrown mapping system (the Google breakup also resulted in the loss of a stock YouTube app, but you can still pick up the official version for free in the iTunes Store).

Google reacted by announcing some big changes of its own for Google Maps. It introduced stunning new 3D-capabilities and offline mode; people were really excited. Instead of temper tantrums, there was champagne, or at least there should have been. The expectation was that Apple would produce something equally as slick as its competition, because, come on -- it's Apple; the bar is just naturally higher. 

And now that it's here ...

Folks running iOS 6 are just flat out miffed. Complaints about the Apple Maps app have been flooding the Internet all night long. It's maybe even worse than that whole Romney video. Or that Invisible Obama thing. OK, maybe it's not quite that awful, but damn, it's a headache. So, exactly how bad is it?

Well, one user sent in a screenshot to the BBC which showed a museum in a river. Yep, in a river. On top of that, entire towns and businesses are missing, while others are in the wrong location. You can also forget about transit directions, you're on your own there (maybe seek assistance from someone with an Android?).

And some things are just simply hard to see, like satellite images that have been obscured by clouds. On the plus side, when locations are clearly visible, they look good (if there's one thing Apple always gets right, it's design), and everything runs at lightning speed (which hasn't typically been the case for Google Maps).  

It's a mess, for sure, but should these flaws all fall on Apple? A spokesman for TomTom told the BBC that it only provided data for Apple Maps, and that it was not responsible for how it worked; that it was merely a "foundation" to Apple's new mapping service. 

"The user experience is determined by adding additional features to the map application such as visual imagery. 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," the TomTom spokesman said.

So, yes, it would appear that Apple Maps had a few kinks that needed fixing before being released iOS 6. Perhaps Apple should have stuck it out with the search giant a little longer, especially since iOS-device owners are already looking for ways to get Google Maps back

Read more about Apple's iOS 6 here

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