More Good, Bad, And Ugly On Apple’s Maps App

The Apple Scandal of the Year Award should go to Apple Maps. The story is long and torturous, and has some good, bad, and ugly elements.

Why did Apple do their own Maps?

Google wouldn’t provide turn-by-turn directions (among other features). Apple wants to control important technologies, and maps on mobile devices are very important.

The Apple Maps app is fine. Sometimes the data is not, and plenty of sites have collected strange images and out of date locations and just plain wrong addresses.

Interestingly, Google has had a similar problem for years, but it took Apple’s higher profile and extreme expectations to bring those shortcomings to light. It seems every maps maker has problems, but tech media pundits, and some customers, hold Apple to a higher standard.

Apple’s Maps for Australia recently led travelers into a snake infested area because the maps data was wrong. Australian officials warned iPhone users traveling in some areas not to rely on Apple’s Maps apps for their own safety.

That’s an ugly bruise on an otherwise attractive app which is easier to use than Google Maps and far better than Nokia’s highly touted and free maps app for the iPhone.

As bad and ugly as the whole Apple Maps episode has been, there are a few good items to consider when weighing which maps app to use.

Find My iPhone in iOS 6 will include driving directions to find your device should it be lost or stolen. Make sure to setup Find My iPhone before losing the iPhone or letting someone steal it.

Remember the good, bad, and ugly of MobileMe? When it launched it was a disaster, but it quickly recovered and became a decent service (as decent as Apple’s internet efforts can be). However, the stigma never left, so Apple killed MobileMe and replaced it with the improved iCloud.

Will Apple kill Apple Maps and replace it with something else? I don’t think so. Maps is extremely integrated into iOS apps. And, besides, what else would you call maps but Maps?

Comments

  1. Cook responded like a competent, dour apparatchik to Apple Maps criticism, did not make a case for Apple, retreating too much and apologizing without providing a vision and an emotional hook to counter and/or replace the vision that media unfairly created, this, in order to divert attention toward what Apple is doing well with its Maps.

    That attention-grabbing zinger, which Jobs so excellently issued to light the curmudgeons’ hair on fire by the outrage produced, was missing. Thinking of Jobs’ perspicuous letter about Flash.

  2. Look at the differences between how Jobs handled the Antennagate issue, vs. how Cook handled Mapsgate.

    Jobs took it head on. ‘Look, all smart phones have a similar attenuation problem. Deal with it.’

    Cook backtracked. ‘Sorry, we screwed up.’

    No defense from Cook at all. He’s a manager, not a leader.

  3. The thing with maps is that it really does have a problem. I think Tim did a good job. I look forward this getting better quickly.

    Kate’s Note: Apple’s Maps doesn’t have a problem. It has problems. Google Maps has problems. What we don’t know is which one has the most, but I suspect that both have plenty. Why is there no media outcry over Google’s glaring mistakes in their maps? Because Apple is held to a higher standard.