Apple responds to Maps criticism

While Maps has worked well for me so far, not everyone has been so lucky. Complaints starting coming in today about various problems with the new app. Apple vows to make it better.

“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

Based on the screenshots from places in Europe I saw today, Maps is certainly not ready for primetime in all places. It is refreshing to see that Apple is responding to the issue quickly and are working to fix the problem.

  • Markthompson Engineer

    What do people expect in one day? The whole world?

    • Geeks do…

      I would say even that the average person probably doesn’t even notice, unless they’re frequent Maps users. The bottom line is that for most regular people, they’ll wonder why the Maps app seems to be a step back from what they had a few minutes before upgrading to iOS6.

      They don’t care about the politics or being crowd-sourced or what, they just want something that works.

    • People don’t care whether the maps are coming from Google or Apple. That’s an implementation detail.

      They care about whether or not they see a massive regression going from one version of their OS to the next. Without a way to roll back the change.

    • When the service that Apple is replacing had “the whole world”, it isn’t an unreasonable expectation.

    • Precisely as said above. Customers don’t care where it’s coming from or if Apple is fighting Google (or vice-versa).

      The truth is, even though there are some welcome novelties, the basic function, which is mapping, is worse now than it was before. Even if that brings a better service in the long run, it’s not what typically is expected from customers.

    • Below$700AShareIsAnnoying!}:-D

      Yes, they do expect perfection from Apple. It’s a well-known hazard for a company that has over a $100 billion in reserve cash. It’s expected that Apple take a billion dollars or so and come out with a perfect mapping solution. One that will be way better than the one Google has been working on for six years or so. Humans have to bitch and moan about something bad about the iPhone 5 and the Maps app is the perfect candidate to go overboard with.

    • adrianoconnor


    • Andrey

      iPhone is more than five years old. People expect it to have a decent maps app, dammit, and spare us the details of your licensing agreements.

  • You think Apple would “hold” approval of a potential Google Maps for iOS app until this map storm blows over?

    If you were Google, you knew this was coming. What better time to release your own iOS Maps app that people “know and love” (yes I know Maps was Apple’s design) – right at a time when people are upgrading and frustrated with the Maps app, looking for alternatives. Seems like a ripe time to pull the carpet from underneath Apple – that is, if they don’t sit on it for a while.

  • If you have a problem with Apple Maps, install Waze use it to improve the open maps Apple are using.

    And get onto Yelp and start adding / fixing local businesses that are missing.

    Seriously – the data Apple is using is crowd sourced – but the crowd just wants to cry about it.

    • It’s somewhat difficult for the crowd to fill the database with aerial pictures, don’t you think? Or popular parks in the neighborhood?

      And are you seriously suggesting that I should go to Yelp, create an account there, and start adding businesses?

      I’ve submitted a number of mistakes already that can be entered with the ‘Report Error’ function. But there’s no way to easily enter more complex data. (Cfr. Google MapMaker)

      • Yes, go to Yelp and create an account and enter the data as needed.

        Be part of the solution, stop bitching about the problem.

        • Paying $N00 is N00 reasons to complain. If a device is failing to meet our needs and you paid for said device, you have a right to gripe.

        • It’s our own fault!!!!! We are responsible!!!! LOL

    • NSSnark

      Here’s an alternative: a company with around $140,000,000,000 of cash on hand could spend a few bucks improving their own data.

  • Well I think they should have prepared a functional solution, before bringing out a nonfunctional app. Because Maps like it is now, it’s definitely far away from being functional.

  • Maps grow and improve through use. It will be painful for some to start with, but if stories I hear about Google playing hardball on licensing it may be better in the long run

  • According to some early figures, as many as 15% of current iPhone users are already running iOS 6, and with it, Apple’s terrible new maps. For the tech community, these new maps are providing some humour; yet I fear for many they could be misleading and in some cases detrimental to whatever urgency they’re currently experiencing. They are potentially an international public safety issue.

    When you consider the scale of use – in the tens of millions – you start to see where the concerns of safety stem from. Millions of people taking wrong turns on highways, or driving to hospitals that don’t exist, or police stations that are actually 10 blocks east of where the map placed it. These maps had one job, and Apple are failing us.

    This might sound like a naive local news station scaremongering their way to hockeystick ratings, but it’s a legitimate concern that I wish Apple were taking more seriously. If Apple truly care about their customers they will do the right thing, they will expedite the approval of the Google Maps app then get back to work on these horrendous things they call maps.

    In 1996 there was a fire in Dusseldorf airport that claimed the lives of many people, this was in part attributed to the poor fire exit signage in the airport. A wayfinding system can have very serious implications on the behaviors of people, especially under stressful circumstances. I believe Apple have grossly underestimated this and instead released these maps for purely strategic reasons. The interests of their users weren’t considered at all, of course they weren’t. Apple should be taking this a lot more seriously than their recent press release would have you believe. In fact, had they been taking this seriously they would have never released these maps at all. The new Apple is losing integrity.

  • Maps Beta1 would have been a more appropriate name, perhaps.

  • Ron Callahan

    Given how Apple does continuous improvement, I would have expected that Apple Maps went one better over the previous version. As it is, this is several steps backward. There doesn’t even seem to be simple integration of the Yellow Pages for searching by business name.

  • Charles

    Apple maps in Japan is also pretty much worthless. Train lines not on the maps, no exit information for stations. No/few buildings which is important when searching. Not that it matters much because I never imagined local search could be so bad. I was hoping to see some improvements through the beta, but all they added were some street numbers that nobody here knows.

    It seems like maps was designed with turn by turn in mind. Great for the US (and probably some other countries). But if you walk or take other transportation it’s not so great. The lack of transit directions doesn’t bother me. Google’s were never good to begin with. Just the lack of details for people on foot.

  • The ‘innovation’ comment is baffling. You can’t call innovation on things done well before you entered the game. I may bend on siri+maps being innovative but that’s even a stretch for me.

    They’ll get it right but I doubt it’ll get better any time soon. For iOS7…probably so.

    • lkalliance

      Turn-by-turn directions is innovative. It’s not Apple’s innovation, but it’s something innovative to have on your phone. I type this without intent to sound sarcastic. That word is thrown around a lot these days, and I think what’s really meant is “original”. But turn-by-turn was an innovation that I’m glad Apple has included in Maps.

      I used the previous Maps app extensively, and I’m a bit wary of how well this one will do. So far so good, though very light use the last couple of days. I do have the Google Maps web app put on my home screen, though I will be very glad to get the app when and if it becomes available.

      In the meantime there is another app available from Mapquest that I’ve used for the past year: it’s done turn-by-turn spoken directions for that entire span, and has been often improved. I have only used it for directions, not for look-ups, so I can’t speak to its database of points of interest.

      • When you say “we did something innovative” the statement lends itself to you being the innovator. In Maps, nothing they did was new; therefore, it isn’t innovative.

        • lkalliance

          That’s a legitimate point, and perhaps I’m in the minority. I’m growing weary of the “innovate! innovate! innovate!” demands. What Samsung needed to be was original, and innovative would have helped.

          It’s all just marketing. I don’t care that Android had this first or iOS had that first.

          For me the bottom line is that Maps now has some features it lacked. If Apple wants to call them “innovative” and people want to say “it’s not innovative, you copied that from someone else” all I’ve got is a shrug left. Let the companies or the courts sort out who gets to use what.

          (side note: I don’t believe that Apple “over-hypes” anything. The charges of the “Apple hype machine” fall on deaf ears in my house. But I am growing weary of marketing catchphrases during the presentations and in Apple’s PR. Goodness, if I hear Phil Schiller mention how things look “on that beautiful display” once more I’m going to scream. In my head. And the PR-speak that has to label things as “innovative.” For the love of Pete, just say “we’ve got X” and stop calling it innovative whether it is or not. It comes off as pleading.)

          So now let’s hope Apple improves the situation, whether it’s by improved data from the crowd or partnering with better partners or engineering solutions. Mentally tired over all of it, it never ends. Just let me enjoy the usefulness of my phone and let me rest.

          • I have no doubt Apple will improve the situation. This will not be another Ping.

            I also get “innovative” was marketing speak but I definitely believe Apple over-hypes their announcements. Every one of them is littered with expressive adjectives and new product names purely to add hype.

            The cool thing is…that’s how you should do it. 🙂 I just don’t care to hear “we are map innovators” when 1) you’re using someone else’s data, 2) your features aren’t new, and 3) it sucks (right now).

  • Speaking on my own experience, these maps took away a feature that I already had an enjoyed while added features that I don’t need, one of those is turn by turn which even if I wanted to use I can’t because it’s limited to people with 4S and up. I have an iPhone 4.

    I live in Barcelona, Spain. We’ve lost public transport directions. This is a city where the majority of people get to places using the bus and metro. With the previous map app I could ask for directions using public transport and I would get the best combination of metro+bus possible, even with the time the bus was going to pass through the stop.

    If I try doing this on the new app I get pointed to an empty page on the App Store where it’s supposed to get a routing app.

    Please explain to me how can I possible call this an improvement? this is a degraded experience overall and I’m not even talking about the map accuracy, I get street names mixed between catalonian and spanish when in Barcelona all the streets are in catalonian. The street names in spanish are simply funny and don’t represent the signs you see on the actual streets.

    I’m very disappointed and can’t understand why they went ahead and released this map app/platform in its current form.

  • Some cities also had directions using bicycles on the previous app, those are gone too. Some european cities (and perhaps in other continents too) have dedicated bicycles lanes and those appeared as a routing method on the replaced app.

  • Claus

    I have to say that the Maps App isn’t so bad. Sure there is only b&w Satellite Images for m yarea, but those images are at least a year – if not two – more recent than what Google offers.

    My street is listed in Maps App, albeit somewhat inaccurately, while Google doesn’t acknowledge it exists.

    What I am saying I already miss the walking directions and the public tansport directions from Google’s Maps and thus can’t wait for Google to bring out a native app, but Apple’s offering ain’t all that bad 🙂

  • Stacy

    “It is refreshing to see that Apple is responding to the issue quickly”

    This alone is a substantial change, and a welcomed one.

  • If you don’t like Apple maps on iOS6, try (might have heard of a thing called Safari browser?). It just works.

  • whatever.

    gmaps has been around for 10 years. imaps a couple days. what do you expect?

    seriously. no way they’re going to beat google at maps on day one. shit, not even year one.

    all they’ve done so far is make things more interesting.

    when i first saw flyover, i felt just like i did when I saw google earth for the first time…

    • NSSnark

      “what do you expect?”

      That when a company worth more than half a trillion dollars produces the annual major release of its flagship product, it doesn’t shove a half-assed release with a dataset several years out of date at us. It’s sort of sad that I’m supposed to say this and then feel guilty about my sense of entitlement.

      • Mother Hydra

        buy you would be correct- this is a big cluster of you-know-what. With nougat. But as disappointed as I am, I’m just not sure when they could ever release this, sort of a play on ‘if not now, when’ thinking. I resent when Google beta tests products and services on their meal ticket and I hold Apple to the same standard. Why should we be submitting all these fixes? Some of this should and does lay squarely at the feet of the Map team. Maybe they should bring sleeping bags and cots to force them to stay at campus like they did when the itunes music store launched. Ces la vie.

  • Zeatrix

    I’m more concerned about iOS 6 deleting my text messages after I upgraded…

  • Mother Hydra

    This map fiasco is a day or so old, and it’s already being characterized as a MobileMe level event. I’d say, at worst, this is antenna-gate worthy. I sure can’t wait for my snarky colleagues with their Droids to come ’round talking trash. For my part I’m silent or say: “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man”

  • Stan

    This new IOS 6 is a piece of crap. If for no other reason, MAPS. I reverted to IOS 5.1.1 the same day I updated. Apple is a loser on this one.