“The common theme is that Apple messed up big time when switching to a home-brewed mapping system for iOS 6. It got so bad that Apple even fired a long-time executive, Scott Forstall, although there may have been other reasons that hastened his departure,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “”

“No matter. It was quite true that, during the early days, Maps could be quite flaky, and in ways that were easy to document with big, bold, lurid screen shots. So when the 3D view showed a landmark melting into the background, such as Hoover Dam, you just knew Apple would be getting tons of bad publicity. Any instance involving wrong directions or locations simply added to the perception that Maps was a huge miss for Apple,” Steinberg writes. “I suppose if Apple called it a public beta from Day One, and treated the mistakes with a touch of humor, the media wouldn’t have reacted so critically. Maybe offer a prize for the silliest mistake, and invite iOS users to document the worst ills, so Apple could fix them. Don’t take it seriously, and the criticisms would be blunted.”

“The perception remains that Apple Maps is bad, Google Maps is good. But the truth lies in a gray area where both are imperfect in different ways. I’ve documented situations where Google Maps screwed up big time, but Apple was mostly correct,” Steinberg writes. “This, however, doesn’t mean that Maps is fixed and is, in all respects, a superior service to Google. But it’s also clear that Apple has invested considerable resources into improving the product, and it shows. But it still may be less accurate in other locations. The problem with the Apple is bad and Google is good brigade is that they are suspended in time. They simply do not understand that Apple has had 18 months to improve the mapping service, and the results should be evident to anyone who checks out rendering and navigation accuracy. It’s a lot better, and Apple deserves the credit for doing the right thing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote before the Apple firings and Cook’s upper management reorg, back on September 28, 2012:

One thing we would like to know is: Who’s responsible for opening Apple up to this overblown shitstorm and why are they still working for Apple Inc., if they still are?

…No matter what Apple does, no matter how much better they make Apple Maps, it will now always “suck” in the minds of a large segment of the population… The fool(s) responsible for preparing Maps for release and then releasing it with obvious issues (overblown as they are) and therefore tainting Maps forever should face severe consequences. As in: Pink slip(s). If you don’t get fired over this debacle, what exactly does get you fired at Tim Cook’s Apple?

Here’s a little hint for the future: Everything that requires widespread customer use to develop a rich database before the product becomes fully usable should be clearly labelled “beta” upon release. Apple did it with Siri, but they forgot to do it with Maps. Had Apple been smart enough to simply place a “beta” tag on Maps, all of this rigamarole would never have occurred.

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