Apple has found itself in quite the kerfuffle over the new Maps app that was released yesterday as part of iOS 6 for the iPhone 5. Unlike the previous Maps application, which was powered by Google, the new Apple Maps is full of errors and glitches, and lacks features such as public transportation information. Unlike owners of the iPhone 4 and 4S, who can opt-out of the iOS 6 upgrade and thus avoid the new Maps app, those who pre-ordered the iPhone 5 will have no choice but to use the new Maps application, warts and all.
Early iOS 6 users have encountered all sorts of issues with the new Maps app, from local searches that return the wrong city to outdated landmarks to cities with missing roads. There’s also plenty of warped-looking buildings and bridges in 3D mode. In fact, a Tumblr has sprung up called The Amazing iOS 6 Maps that highlights some of the most humorous and embarrassing errors.
Apple is choosing to focus on the positive aspects of the new Maps application, citing features such as its Flyover 3D mapping, turn-by-turn navigation and Siri integration. “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it,” said Trudy Miller, an Apple spokeswoman, to AllThingsD. “Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get.”
The new Maps application draws its data from two main companies: TomTom and Waze. While both companies are established players in the mapping and GPS industry, this new app from Apple proves the closest competitors are still a ways being Google. TomTom has defended their mapping data, citing numerous companies that license the company’s data and claiming that the application of this data is out of their hands.
Google launched Google Maps in 2005 and has spent the past seven years collecting usage data and improving their product. Apple, on the other hand, just entered the mapping game yesterday. There is no doubt that Apple will improve their product in the days to come, but iPhone 5 owners may have need to adjust their expectations of a flawless Apple experience on their new phones.
Apple may be just getting started, but let’s hope they get there soon.