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9/19/2012
07:23 PM
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Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops

Apple consumers and industry pundits lament the loss of the Google-powered Maps app on iOS devices.

iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
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Apple on Wednesday made iOS 6 available to those with a recent iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and the mobile operating system's most notable feature--a new Apple-powered Maps app--is being met with scorn.

Having reached the end of a five-year contract with Google, which supplied map data for the iOS Maps app, Apple made its redesigned Maps app a marquee feature in iOS 6.

"Beautifully designed from the ground up (and the sky down), Maps changes the way you see the world," Apple declares on its website.

Prominent observers of the company and some users are seeing red.

Anil Dash, a respected blogger and director of technology incubator Expert Labs, slams Apple's new Maps app as being inferior to the Google-powered Maps app in iOS 5 and earlier. "When you buy an iOS 6 device, you get a worse experience for search and no ability to get transit directions out of the box, both of which are significant downgrades from iOS 5," he wrote in a lengthy blog post on Wednesday.

[ What about NFC? Read Is Apple Or NFC The Bigger Loser With iPhone 5? ]

Dash goes on to argue that Maps represents a fork in the road for Apple, one that could herald a shift from focusing on user experience and customer benefits to using its platform dominance to keep competitors at a disadvantage.

Dash's criticism might be easier to dismiss were it not for the fact that Daring Fireball writer John Gruber, whose articulate praise for Apple over many years has made him a company favorite, more or less agrees with Dash's verdict.

"[T]he new Maps is going to be the biggest problem with iOS 6," Gruber wrote in response to Dash's post on Wednesday. After suggesting that Google may share some of the responsibility for ending the Maps contract--without noting that Apple's purchase of three map technology companies since 2009 foretold the contract's end--he concludes, "Anil is right about the bottom line though: the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade."

All Things D's Walt Mossberg, whose recent reviews of Apple products have been largely positive, also sees the new Maps app as "the biggest drawback" of iOS 6.

It's not just the pundits that are quibbling with the way Apple has redrawn Maps. Users of iOS devices are already taking to Apple's forum to complain. And these are not just the inevitable complaints based on aesthetic preference that surface following any product design change; they claim that Maps is inaccurate and unreliable--problems no map can endure for long if people actually use it.

"I know the reasons why Apple wanted to move from Google Maps but to release something that is just not fit for [the] purpose is beyond me," complained one user posting under the name "prayme." "I have bought many Apple products over the years, iPods, iMac, MacBook, [etc.] and this change to Maps has left me very angry."

Apologists for Apple argue that Maps will only get better over time, as Apple refines its service and obtains more accurate map data. But Apple customers may not want to wait that long, particularly if Google decides to release a map app of its own. In the meantime, there's always maps.google.com, via mobile browser.

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ANON1248837340478
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ANON1248837340478,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2012 | 4:09:33 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
Angied, the article also mentions a "worse experience for search" in addition to the lack of transit directions.

I think that JCDE has hit the other big aspect of this in addition to the simple fact that it seems like a downgrade. This is the second flagship feature that has been released, if not in name, as a beta. They got away with it with Siri because it was brand new functionality, not a replacement for something that already existed, but this time they've put something out that with significant bugs that a) replaced a function/product that people generally loved, and b) has other competitive options available.
JCDE
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JCDE,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2012 | 3:38:48 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
I tested it out this morning while using Siri as I normally do while driving ... "closest dunkin' donuts" ... 10 were found ... the nearest marked at 7 miles away ... I was sitting in traffic across the street from my local D and D. going to verizon next week and seeing about a droid switch-out. they shot themselves in the foot on this business move ... tired of paying $130 a month to be a beta tester for Apple.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2012 | 1:31:46 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
You are just holding it wrong!
hohum
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hohum,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2012 | 3:10:45 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
Nokia phones dont seems that bad now-lol

makes calls all the time -excellent navigation for last 5+ years

What the?... ( must of been their first smartphone)
Angied
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Angied,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2012 | 2:20:30 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
again, the article above was about the maps app being a downgrade for many users because it no longer offers transit directions!
Angied
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Angied,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2012 | 2:18:28 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
Maybe if you learned to read you would see that the complain is for transit directions. No one is complaining about driving directions. Yeah the turn by turn is nice but I already had an app that was voice activated. The problem is people living in big cities rely and mass transit and those with iphones used the app because it gave us a decent times to catch our bus or train! Now they want me to purchase 2 apps one that will get from from point a to b in nyc and another that will get me from point b in nyc to point c in NJ! BULLSHIT
jaycee21
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jaycee21,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/21/2012 | 4:27:10 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
The maps app might work relatively well in the US but for the rest of the world it leaves a lot to be desired. If you're not happy about your new maps then make yourself heard by signing this petition http://www.iosmapsfail.com/
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/21/2012 | 3:51:10 AM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
The very first thing I tried to find with iOS 6's Maps on my iPad was UNCSA in Winston-Salem, NC. It was off by over a 1 mile, on the wrong street, with a totally wrong address, and a phone number that goes to what sounds like a fax machine. Imagine in some cities ending up almost 1.5 miles from your destination at 3AM?!?! Not a nice thought.

Oh, and you can't actually report a problem because you cannot drag the push pin to the right location. When you attempt to move the push pin it moves the map, not the pin so Apple has no way to correct the issue.

That iOS 6 Maps cannot find a UNC university in one of the largest cities in NC suggests to me Apple has more than a little bit of work to do. Google Maps finds UNCSA perfectly the first time, every time. The question is does Apple care more about getting away from Google than a good user experience? As for a Google Maps app, I'm betting Apple has some provision that they'll use to exclude it from the App Store. I can safely say my next tablet will not be an Apple product.
MrTechWizzard
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MrTechWizzard,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2012 | 11:14:38 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops
I see no reason to complain. The new app is not as great as the Google based one, but will probably be superior soon. Hopefully Google will provide Google Maps if Apple let's them. For the meantime, I went to maps.google.com in Safari, followed the simple instructions to Add it to Screen, and it's working perfectly. I can add it to my dock while Google Maps comes, or until the Apple Maps is good enough. It's great for turn-by-turn instructions, as I found out last night. It just lacks some things that Google Maps has, and might also have some inaccuracies.
WylieD
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WylieD,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2012 | 9:33:39 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 Maps App Flops

Apple needs to fix inaccuracies ASAP.

But inaccuracies aren't unique to the Map app. Google Maps once routed me on the private road that services the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. When a road features a security gate, razor wire, and guys with guns, that's a clue.

And it's lame that neither mobile Google Maps or the new Map app show the scale of a map.

As for no street view, that has been an endless privacy headache for Google. Personally, I think street view should be limited to commercial and other public buildings.

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