After reading about Steve Jobs’ robust management style in Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple boss, one can well imagine that if he were alive today the walls of the Cupertino campus would be shaking violently as he vented his anger regarding the iOS Maps fiasco, with a tirade of abuse directed at the team responsible for the new app. The words, “it just doesn’t work,” would probably be bellowed somewhere along the way.
Within hours of iOS 6 launching on Wednesday, tweets, blog posts and news articles started appearing criticizing Apple’s new Maps app – which replaced Google’s equivalent offering – for being, well, not particularly good.
There was mention of an entire city ending up in the sea, a farm being labeled as an airport, and the Sears Tower being shrunken down. And Shakespeare’s home city, Stratford-upon-Avon, had somehow been replaced with a hospital. That’s right, a hospital the size of a city. The Guardian called Maps Apple’s “first significant failure in years.”
Responding to complaints about its new app, Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told AllThingsD, “We are excited to offer [Apple Maps] with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
So there you go, the excuse is that it’s early days. But did they launch it too soon? No doubt at some point in the future, Maps will be a great product and will have little difficulty telling the difference between a farm and an airport, but the question is, how long will it take?
DT’s Molly McHugh outlined the main fixes Apple needs to make with Maps that might allow users to start saying, “It just works.” At the moment, it seems that “it only just works.”
The advice is that if you have an Apple device and rely heavily on navigation in your daily life, don’t make the move to iOS 6 just yet. If you do, the more useful Google Maps app currently on your device will disappear and at the time of writing, Google has no Maps app in the iTunes app store – though this could be about to change. When it does, you’re clear to upgrade to iOS 6.
[Second image: The Amazing iOS 6 Maps]