One of the biggest question marks surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was the removal of Google Maps as the backend of the native Maps app for Apple and its replacement with Apple’s own homegrown or ‘mashed up’ version of maps.
Would it be as good as Google Maps? Would it be better? Or, dear lord please no, would it be worse?
Well, if this article from the BBC is any indication, the early results are less than favourable (or favorable depending on which side of the Atlantic you are reading this from).
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 specialist TomTom.
Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, which comes already installed on the new iPhone.
It was this feature that I was personally waiting to see play out that would be a major factor for me going to the iPhone or getting a new Android device. If the maps and local information is bad then Android it is.I say this because there is not a Google Maps app yet for iPhone and one wonders if Google will actually help Apple out by offering one especially if iOS users simply start hitting the Google Maps site from their mobiel device so they can feel they are getting more accurate data.
What’s even more fascinating is that Tom Tom, the navigation arm of the new Apple Maps, is trying hard to distance themselves from this growing mess.
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.”
Yikes! If you partner with Apple on such an important venture then throw them under the bus this easily I wonder just what the real deal is behind Apple Maps!
Mapping is an incredibly hard thing to do. What is probably disappointing to many is that Apple has released a service that is not up to their standards. The trouble is that the high standard that Apple has is usually with software. There have been services that are far below par (Ping anyone?).
I don’t doubt that the mapping functionality and accuracy will improve over time for Apple Maps. Based on the early returns it looks like it has to. I do doubt that Apple would ever go back to Google with its tail between its legs asking to have Google Maps back. Not in a million years.
So how would a bad maps experience influence your opinion of Apple and its service?
(Image credit BBC)