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9/21/2012
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Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps

Apple issued a mea culpa late Thursday in an attempt to deflect criticism of its Apple Maps application, which is a core part of iOS 6. Nokia took the opportunity to jump on Apple's mistake.

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iPhone 5's 10 Best Features
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Apple kicked Google Maps out of iOS 6, the latest version of its smartphone and tablet operating system. It replaced Google Maps with its own in-house map application called Apple Maps. Google has spent the better part of a decade and billions of dollars refining Google Maps for mobile devices, including the iPhone. Apple, however, is admittedly "just getting started"--and it shows.

iPhone and iPad owners who installed iOS 6 this week found out just how early in the process of creating its Maps app Apple really is. Users of Apple Maps have discovered missing streets, mislabeled streets, mislabeled points of interest--heck, even missing towns. The level of detail available in Apple Maps simply doesn't come close to matching the no-longer-available Google Maps App.

Apple has taken the criticism on the chin and was uncharacteristically quick to own up to the poor performance of the software.

"Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service," the company said in a statement supplied to both AllThingsD and The Verge. In fact, reports surfaced that the update of iOS 6 has far surpassed that of previous releases of iOS. One firm calculated that approximately 15% of all iOS devices upgraded to the new version within the first 24 hours. That compares to iOS 5's release, which saw 20% adoption in the first five days.

[ They're here, but does anyone care? See Nokia Windows Phone 8 Devices Arrive With Thud. ]

"We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation," Apple continued. "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."

It had better improve quickly. Google Maps on the iPhone was an excellent piece of software that was reliable and worked well. It offered features such as Street View, and even the ability to peer inside businesses. Google Maps was an integral part of the iPhone and iOS. Removing it seriously damages iOS 6 devices' usefulness as a navigation tool.

One of the many things missing from Apple Maps is mass transit information. Apple says it is working on that. "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."

There's no denying that Apple missed the mark big time with Apple Maps. Apple's competitors have taken the opportunity to kick it in the shins. Nokia, for instance, posted a blog entry discussing Nokia Maps and Apple Maps and was clearly smug about which is the better of the two.

"Unlike our competitors, which are financing their location assets with advertising or licensing mapping content from third parties, we completely own, build and distribute mapping content, platform and apps," said Nokia. It's important to remember here that Nokia purchased Navteq in 2008 for billions of dollars. It has used Navteq's mapping data to bolster its own mapping powers, which it has taken to an entirely new level with its Windows Phone devices.

Nokia offers not one, but many mapping and navigation applications that can be used online and offline to provide driving, walking, and mass transit directions, as well as real-time traffic and mass transit reports. It's a powerful collection of software that is proven in the marketplace.

"We believe that the best user experience comes indeed from precise data, robust processing of core platform functionalities like routing, geocoding and traffic, and by user friendly apps. All this cannot be built overnight," the company said.

Nokia published an infographic with tons of data comparing its mapping product to Google Maps on the Galaxy S III and Apple Maps on the iPhone. You can view the infographic here to see how the mapping systems compare.

Apple has a lot of catching up to do with Apple Maps. Let's hope it doesn't take the short-cut this time.

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jasonscott
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jasonscott,
User Rank: Strategist
9/24/2012 | 6:50:27 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
The real reason behind Apple changing its map app is simple: Google wouldn't update (or Apple to update) the old Google-powered Maps app to bring it on-par with the Android map app. So, had Apple stuck with the old Google map app, the iPhone would always have a second-rate map app. End of story.

Likewise, Apple couldn't just turn to MS for Bing maps, for the same reason.

So, Apple really only had one remaining choice: build it's own. It wisely chose to partner with a mobile mapping veteran (TomTom) and through in a bunch of hooks for future capabilities.

Is Apple Maps as good as Google Maps? No. Not yet, anyway. Give it a rev or two and I suspect it'll be a sweet app. If not, there are plenty of other Maps available, such as MapQuest, Waze, TomTom, etc. -- several (or all) of which are free, too.

Since I use my map app only about 5% (or less!) of the time I'm using my iPhone, I'm not about to base my overall satisfaction of my iPhone on its map app. Apple Maps works well enough for most folks (I relied on mine this weekend for a trip out of state -- it worked great!)
Eddie60101
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Eddie60101,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2012 | 5:15:23 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
You are absolutely correct. The statement quoted above is not a "mea culpa." And we have to compare-and-contrast this to Apple's response any time someone starts to compete with them. Apple does not allow a competitor to say, "We're only getting started," as the response is always, "But now you're competing against us. We've set the bar higher. So you're 'getting started' is a fail." You can't have it both ways. Either the bar is higher due to competition, or people can just get started and improve.

I'll hold Apple to the standard they hold their competitors to and call this a failure.
Eddie60101
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Eddie60101,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2012 | 5:13:03 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
No maps are 100% correct. Errors existed even on the old paper maps that people used to buy to drive cross-country. What matters is not whether any map software is perfect (none are), but the error rate. If it is sufficiently low, you can rely on the map or directions. Otherwise, you cannot. In any case, no map, hardware or software, should be considered absolutely perfectly reliable. Always use your own judgement as well. Even if a map were 100% accurate when created, things change, roads change, businesses move, and so on.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2012 | 2:23:30 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
That may be the case, kbear, but I would have to say that the majority of the time Google Maps is on the money. Whenever my wife and I go on a trip, I print out a copy of Google Maps directions to accompany our GPS (which for some odd reason my wife named "Lucy."). More than half the time we actually ignore the GPS' instructions for the Google directions and end up doing better.

Tom LaSusa
InformaitonWeek
telle quelle
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telle quelle,
User Rank: Strategist
9/24/2012 | 5:53:27 AM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
I have a Nokia Lumia 800 in france. The article and Nokia need to specify that they're talking about Nokia Drive, the GPS app. Which while, yes, you can use it offline to view, the offline search is piss-poor. Furthermore, it'll only go destinations manually typed in or found from search data, which curiously DOESN'T include contacts on your phone!

Also, the transit thing they compare is an entirely different app, NOT the GPS they're talking about, and it DOES require a 3G or internet connection, and the transit app sucks big time, it's just a static map of metro lines, not even buses. and the "real time" thing doesn't work in Paris.
Yeomandroid
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Yeomandroid,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2012 | 10:39:57 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
The beauty of Nokia maps is they are reliable and you can even view them offline!
takis2
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takis2,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2012 | 9:05:34 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
Copy that Apple.
(As the great copier has moved to greener fields, no-one has left to copy... errr sorry, inspire from others people work).
kbear
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kbear,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2012 | 3:14:44 AM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
Google maps aren't always correct. I've encountered two mistakes just this past week. One put the store about four miles from its actual location in a different town. The other identified a company as being in another state, though the address was correct.
JC000
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JC000,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2012 | 2:51:17 AM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
Apple didn't issue a mea culpa. There's no "We're sorry," "We made a mistake," or "We did something wrong." They just said how awesome they are, and added, "We're just getting started."
TruthinSF
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TruthinSF,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2012 | 4:38:56 PM
re: Nokia Kicks Apple's Map In The Apps
Apple should forget the excuses, and just give us Google Maps back. I love my iPhone. But I want Google Maps.
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