Apple’s Eddy Cue racing to overhaul Maps

“Apple Inc’s Eddy Cue, who took charge of map software last month, is racing to turn around the troubled service, firing a senior manager and urging partners to improve data amid an escalating rivalry with Google Inc.,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg. “Cue, 48, senior vice president overseeing Apple’s online services, pushed out maps supervisor Richard Williamson in a management shakeup soon after taking over the program, said people familiar with the situation, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.”

“Apple is under pressure to remedy mapping software widely faulted for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and a lack of public-transit directions. Building confidence in the tools is crucial as Google prepares its own downloadable mapping application for the iPhone and iPad, threatening to lure users and ad dollars away from Apple,” Satariano reports. “‘Maps are a mission-critical application, and consumers have to trust that what they are seeing is correct,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research. ‘Apple will have to work really hard to re-earn that trust.'”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s an understatement. Nowadays, especially, perception is everything:

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)… Apple seems to have learned nothing from the Newton: First impressions mean everything. Apple’s Maps have been Newtonized. All that’s missing is the Doonesbury strip.MacDailyNews Take, September 28, 2012

Cue is faced with a nearly impossible rehab mission. Good luck, Eddy! (You’re gonna need it.)

Satariano reports, “While flaws in Apple’s map program haven’t dented sales of the iPhone 5, which was introduced in September, the shortcomings were an unusual public misfire that forced Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to apologize to customers. The bungled introduction of the new mapping features also contributed to the ouster of mobile-software chief Scott Forstall, whose departure was announced in October.”

“Cue, who started his career at Apple in the company’s internal information-technology department, became a close confidant of [late Apple co-founder Steve] Jobs,” Satariano reports. “As head of iTunes, he spearheaded many of the negotiations with music, television and movie companies. He’s also leading the company’s effort to add more video content for a potential new television product, people familiar with the internal deliberations said earlier this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple to Maps manager Williamson: Get lost – November 27, 2012
Days after Tim Cook’s apology, Apple’s Maps shows improvements – October 12, 2012
Tim Cook open letter: We fell short with new Maps app; we are extremely sorry – September 28, 2012

47 Comments

    1. As long as the iOS version has no proper turn-by-turn navigation, like the android version, it won’t.

      BTW navigation part of the Maps app has always worked flawlessly for me so far. (Germany)

      1. Me too, GeeOne and I’ve been using it since beta at WWDC. Never failed me once in numerous metropolitan and even rural areas. Also, even if Google Maps includes TBT, it won’t be integrated therefore it won’t be used by most users. There’s quite a bit of value in being able to ask Siri while driving for directions to a certain place.

        1. Maps App from Apple has worked flawlessly for me. Typed in a very arbitrary address of my daughters friend to get her to a birthday party. Her friend lived in one of those crazy planned communities where all the steets & homes looked similar…… Multiple lefts and rights…….Apple maps delivered us right to the front door. This too shall pass. Google Schmoogle Map My Ass.

          1. My wife recently used Apple Maps to navigate to a client’s new home. Worked flawlessly. He told her she was the first person ever to find his house without calling for help.

            “Routes that get people lost”, my ass. Apple Maps has never gotten me lost. Maybe when the service was first introduced, but Apple hasn’t been standing still.

            ——RM

    2. Sure it will, David. If it keeps you happy, then carry on believing that. My own personal experience recently using Apple Maps to get me 140 miles to a friends place I had never been to before proves otherwise. When I asked for a route to their house, which is a converted farmhouse on a singletrack lane six or seven miles from the nearest main road, using their address in my contacts, Apple Maps dropped a pin right by their drive.
      Out of interest, I tried Google Maps. Fail. It couldn’t even recognise their address, as far as Google were concerned, my friends home didn’t exist.
      One problem with Apple Maps, though, is that a route that used roads that I knew for part of the journey couldn’t be selected; it gave me three options, and none of them were ideal. I’ll continue to use CoPilot Live, as I can edit the route so that it includes sections I know along with those I don’t.
      Then there’s the fact that Google Maps has no route guidance. Epic fail.

      1. If Apple Maps is so flipping wonderful why did Tim Cook apologize for it, why did Apple fired several head honchos who shall remain nameless (may they repent their sins), and why is Eddy Cue “racing to overhaul” Maps? Just because Maps worked well for you does not mean it has not failed other people. Apple Maps being just better than Google Maps is hardly a rousing endorsement. Apple should kick Google’s ass up and down the street and put a pin on that!

  1. I completely disagree. If Apple fixes Maps and expands the current product to what it needs to have, they will be just fine. I am very surprised of your negativity. If I followed your logic, why should Apple even bother. And that would be stupid.

    1. Wow MDN, really surprised at the take. I truly think that this was way over-blown. I have Navigon & TomTom and both of them, at times, have misled me. NO MAP APP is perfect – INCLUDING Google Maps. That’s taken me down a wrong road as well. People just have to have something to bitch about, I guess.

      1. Totally right. I became accustomed to errors in Google maps and Tom-Tom errors, just as we all did earlier in life, with those gas station road maps and even printed Thomas guides, and before that stopping to ask directions of local dimwits. Errors all the way!

        Over time, not only in maps but in so many other areas of consumer expectation, we were conditioned to passively expect and accept mediocrity. ‘Til there was you, Apple! And now, our conditioning cast off, we can whinge away to our hearts’ content!

    2. I completely understand MDN’s take – you have to keep in mind that the people that follow this site are highly educated about Apple products, and technology in general. We use and understand the products.

      The VAST majority of the population only know how to turn on their TV with the remote, when they lose the remote, they have no clue how to operate the TV. The population in general are NOT tech literate. They heard on the News that Maps sucks, that’s all they’re ever going to remember.

      Even if Eddy manages to make Maps the best GPS device ever put in the hands of the people, most of them will always remember that they heard a talking head say there were problems, and they’ll avoid it like the plague.

      1. The one thing Apple has going for them is that the iPhone remains the single most popular brand name of iPhone, and a problematic Maps app isn’t going to stop most people from buying one. Once the iPhone is in their hands, they’ll most likely use the Maps app and find nothing wrong with it.

        That won’t change the overall perception quickly, though, because only a minority of people own iPhones.

        ——RM

  2. This is a fairly erroneous article. Apple isn’t racing against Google Maps for top billing on the iPhone and they don’t get “Ad dollars” from Maps. Apple actually recommends quite a few alternative mapping solutions, which would not happen if ad revenue were at play.

    Truth is, outside of the internet, the vast majority of customers have very few issues with Maps. This unconfirmed personnel move is almost certain to be about far more than this overblown Maps story.

  3. Overhaul? Apple Maps was FUBAR from day one. In my experience Google Maps is better, if ever so slightly, than Apple Maps. I wish Eddy Cue the best, he and his crew have a long row to hoe.

    1. Macfreek, go piss up a rope. The worst issues with Apple Maps here in the UK, the poor satellite images, have all been fixed some time ago. Any other issues are relatively minor, and can be fixed via user notification. I’ve already notified Apple about a number of businesses in my home town that are incorrect, but Google have just as many, if not more inconsistencies.
      Dumb comments by a stupid little troll like you are effectively meaningless, you just piss people off.

      1. Did you miss the bit about “reported map errors when they first released”. Are they actually fixing any user reported errors? How long should it take to spell street names correctly and how did they get them wrong in the first instance?

  4. Also, Apple Maps is and will always be the first party mapping app on iOS. Nothing will supplant that. It’s nowhere near bad enough to convince users to deal with the hassles of using a non-integrated 3rd party mapping app.

    For those of you decrying the app as “FUBAR”, please give some relevant examples of Apple Maps failing you.

  5. > threatening to lure users and ad dollars away from Apple

    It’s not a big deal for THAT reason… If iPhone users use Google’s app, Apple still made its profit from selling the iPhone. If iPhone users use Apple’s app, Apple still made its profit from selling the iPhone. So, in summary, Apple makes its profit from selling the iPhone.

    However, it is a “big deal” for Apple because Apple values user experience above everything else. A Maps app with glitches means a bad user experience that needs to be corrected ASAP.

    1. You don’t like the small screen on iPhone, you don’t like Apple’s skeuomorphic (sic?) design, you don’t like the way maps are drawn, you don’t like so many aspects of OSX and iOS……WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE?

      Windoze is the answer for you. So STFU and and go buy a Surface.

      As for MDN, they have totally blown the impression I had of them. They are as stupid and as fickle as BLN. Would not surprise me if BLN is actually the same guy as the one that writes MDN’s take.

  6. Thus far, I’ve encountered exactly ONE Maps error overall, and the distance of error was only one block. Methinks perhaps that, at least to some extent, this is the “Antenna-gate” of iPhone 5. The FUDsters knew they couldn’t harp on the antenna this time so they had to find something else. Maps isn’t perfect, but neither is it the disaster being portrayed. I mean, c’mon….the Apple haters will come up with something EVERY time there’s a new version of iPhone released…haven’t we figured that out yet?

    1. When I first tested the new Maps, I asked Siri to take me to the corner. She plotted a transcontinental route to a place called Corner, Utah.

      And of course my first thought was to compose a diatribe to join the tumescent chorus of the cruelly betrayed, and then join a twelve step program to overcome my revulsion for what Google has become.

      Whatever! Maybe I should take that drive to Corner, Utah anyway. I could use a new collection of prairie dog skulls to adorn my entryway.

  7. Every time Apple releases an iPhone, the media will pick up on something that’s not 100% perfect, turn it into a story and we’re all supposed to believe that it’s the end of Apple. Luckily people have short memories and the maps issue did not appear to affect sales. I believe Apple makes the best products you can buy, but nobody’s perfect and expectations are unrealistically high; other phones are just not held up to the same scrutiny. I am surprised by MDN’s take as I think issues with iOS maps were overblown. We don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but it seems reasonable to assume that Google wanted more user information (that’s how they make money) and were holding back features on iOS. It was an uncomfortable relationship with a competitor. For once Google had a head start on maps and I don’t think Apple’s implementation was particularly bad, all mapping services have problems. I don’t hear people complaining about iOS maps any more, but I’m sure when the next iPhone is released we’ll be talking about the next overblown “disaster” but once again it will go on to be the fastest selling product they have ever made.

  8. Apple maps are just great! Better than Google for the functionality they have implemented so far. Of course there is no transit schedules or street view. These are not yet implemented. Everything else is way better than Gogle maps.

  9. TBT seems OK in Oz. problem is with town locations, which are all over the place! Embarrassing because it could so easily have been avoided. Faster than goog maps but still a work in progress. I trust Cue & co to get it right but it should be better than google maps just as Siri needs to be made faster and more accurate than the goog search app.

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