iOS 6 Maps app mess was no big surprise to Apple: Tim Cook took a calculated risk

“No doubt the images popping up on the Internet of misnamed cities and misplaced landmarks [in Apple’s new Maps app] don’t comport with the usual narrative surrounding Apple, a company that’s enjoyed approving media coverage for metronomelike execution as it’s redefined standards of excellence in its smartphone and tablet computing platforms,” Charles Cooper reports for CNET.

“Apple could have kept Google’s more reliable and mature mobile mapping app, but it made a strategic decision about something it needed to own and monetize. Put another way, getting rid of Google Maps was more important than delivering a less-flawed Apple Maps app and dealing with the grumbling.” Cooper opines. “But how long is that [grumbling] going to last? Many may remember the heart attacks over ‘Antennagate,’ when some owners of the then-new iPhone 4 complained about weak or lost signal strength when they touched an area near the device’s antennas. That also was supposed to be the end of the world as we know it. Nowadays it’s just a footnote and Apple’s shares are hovering near an all-time high.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: With every major Apple product release we get the same old overblown, overreactive, wastes of time. (BTW: We used Apple’s Maps this weekend to travel back roads 240 miles through three US states and it was absolutely FLAWLESS. In fact, it suggested the same exact routes that Google Maps did – we checked.)

These brouhahas that happen when Apple releases a major product are a result of the media echo chamber, some amount of planned FUD by companies that sell other mapping apps or competing phones, and are all the result of a desire of every media outlet on earth to somehow use the name “Apple” in a story and also to cater to those who aren’t getting an iPhone 5 this weekend, who therefore won’t have the most gorgeous useful pocket computer ever designed and built, and who therefore need something to assuage their envy of those of us who do. (“Look, Mable, there’s one of those new iPhone 5s. The news says that the Maps don’t work, so we don’t need to feel bad that all we have are these plastic iPhone wannabes that AT&T guy told us to buy.”)

156 Comments

  1. I live in Calgary AB. The map is almost flawless until you use 3D. I can live with it until it’s fixed.

    You want to talk about a nightmare, let me tell you about Mac OS 8.0.

  2. I actually think that the release of Maps in very Steve Jobs like. It was definitely not the popular thing to do. It was done because in the long term it will work out. They didn’t take the safe expedient route but the long-term better solution which in the beginning will not necessarily be popular. Most people hate change and this is a big change. Just like omitting floppy disc drives, changing to thunderbolt from firewire, not including an optical drive in the macbook air, and many other examples. Sometime changes are a little bit early and take a while to perfect. Now not having an optical drive in a lap top is not a problem because of iCloud but a few years ago it was controversial. Maps and the new lightning connecter are the types of innovation that Apple is famous for and is how their products alway remain in front with other companies struggling to keep up.

    1. …but what was so wrong about the Google maps app that required replacing? The Apple app doesn’t add anything new -indeed, it breaks much of which worked perfectly before. I struggle to see what these great changes will be? Apple are not replacing Google maps because it is obsolete – indeed, they appear to be struggling to replicate what it was a few years ago.

      1. Google started making a phone OS. And not a brand new one, but a rip-off of iOS.

        Apple can’t be dependent on Google technology going forward. Especially ones that form core parts of the phone experience.

        Google has turned Apple from their biggest friend, to their biggest threat. First maps, then search.

    2. Easy with the references to SJ. Are suggesting that Google will simply sit on its hands and watch the parade go by? Times are changing at fast at that and Google is not going away anytime soon.
      Screen cap this… the next 6 months will be the most revealing in 20 years in terms on consumer choices for both gadgets and eco systems.

      1. Rubbish. What planet are you living on?
        The choices were made over two years ago:
        iTunes for music, iPhone if you want the very best phone, and iPad for a tablet/Pad thingy.
        No-one has any traction, not M$oft, not RIM, not Samsung, not Google.
        The war is over, Apple won.

  3. A reminder to those saying this isn’t like Apple and that this wouldn’t have been released under Jobs. There are have been numerous growing pains and/or flubs over the years. Whether its MobileMe, Ping, Game Center, Final Cut X, or antenna-gate Apple had rarely shied away from taking the risk and allowing users to be testers. As often as they perfect through engineering they also perfect through consumer use. And every time they use consumers as the “ginnea pig” there is an uproar and Apples failure. But eventually it become praised and/or forgotten.

    Personally the map feels incomplete, and that’s because it is. Just like the way FCP X felt on release. But I trust that more is coming and if I don’t like it I can just download something else.

    1. Right on. Bitching about behavioral problems and presumptuousness, over protectiveness, rolling-our-eyes-over-supposed-adult-decisions are all hallmarks of the hormone-poisoned teenager, intoxicated with life and eager for new and dangerous experiences.

      Analogy to growing up. I wanted a car but my father said, maybe next year. I wanted to date the quarterback and he said, uh, not a good idea. The taste of my disappointment in those moments rises, Proust-like, when I read some of these reactions and wonder why every being is expected to spring fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’ brow, and every product from the workshops of the gods to be no less than a philosopher’s stone.

      New era, everybody! Software is no longer off-the-shelf stuff like Palmolive soap. It’s organic, evolves, is starting to get to know you, even; try not to piss it off while it’s forming its first impressions of Homo Sapiens.

  4. Apple’s Maps may work well in major US cities, but they’re a poor substitute for Google Maps in many cities elsewhere on the globe.

    As a single example, in my city in NZ, Google Maps provides property boundaries, so you know whether the address you are looking for is on a road frontage or is down a long driveway to a back section. Apple’s Maps shows street outlines only. There’s no “Flyover” of course although, frankly, I doubt I would have much use for it anyway, as I don’t do a lot of aerial commuting. I do make a lot of use of Google’s “Street View”.

    I’ve relegated Maps to my third iPhone screen, and replaced it with the direct link icon offered by Google. I’ve no doubt Apple’s version will improve (and I’m not entering into the debate over whether it should have been released yet), but I’ll have to live with “evil” until Apple Maps is more useful.

  5. The real question is, would you rather stay with a compromised google maps app (relative to their android version), or are you willing to temporarily have a somewhat compromised (but much smoother, easier to use, slicker, and turn by turn giving) experience from Apple, that in time will enable them to provide a MUCH better (and privacy protecting) experience down the road? That is the only real question IMO.

    1. You are lost in the wilderness near Fargo, North Dakota. You are freezing. A car approaches on the dirt road. It is your Uncle Eric. He opens the door of his Lincoln Town Car, and the welcoming heat leaks out, but you hesitate because you have long suspected him of spying on you – following you at a distance, and taking pictures of your house while you’re in it.

      Then a Dodge pickup arrives, and cousin Tim pokes his neck out the window, offering to give you a lift. Tim is sweet on you, a little, but respects you, and is also too busy with work and such to devote much time to building a relationship. But he tends to get lost now and then, with his head in the clouds and all, and his car heater is broken.

      What to do?

  6. Remember that with this release of iPhone 5, Apple will not have an upgrade for one year.

    Maybe the decision was strategically affected by either “release it now in Beta” and improve it as we go…or wait another year to release it and begin its evolution into a valid Google competitor, but a year later.

  7. I’m in Southern California and the new Maps is flawless from what I can tell, but CA should be easy to map out the way the area is spread out in a neat grid-like manner, generally speaking.

    I can envision it being a mess in other areas, especially abroad. People in Korea are saying huge swaths of Seoul aren’t even showing up in the new Maps. That’s a shame. I had no problem getting around in Seoul with the old Google Maps.

    In the LA area, the main thing is turn-by-turn directions since driving is really the only way to get around. I had been using the Garmin app (which I still really like) but the new Apple Maps seems even better after comparing the two.

  8. Maps has placed about 10 businesses near my house that actually exist in another town. They also placed a hospital near my house that doesn’t exist. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  9. “…to cater to those who aren’t getting an iPhone 5 this weekend, who therefore won’t have the most gorgeous useful pocket computer ever designed and built, and who therefore need something to assuage their envy of those of us who do.”

    True MDN. My plastic iPhone wannabe is an iPhone 4S.

  10. I did a quick check for routes to places that I normally travel to, the instructions were accurate to a similar degree that Google maps were.

    I will continue to compare the new maps with my auto GPS until I’m satisfied with the relative accuracy.

    I’ve done this with Google maps too!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.