Apple loses its way - and major landmarks - with new Maps app

Sep 20, 2012

iOS6 iPhone upgrade drops Google Maps for 'dumb' Apple Maps

Getty images

APPLE has been hit with a barrage of criticism following the release of its brand new mapping service yesterday.

Reaction to Apple Maps, which replaces the well-established Google Maps and comes pre-loaded on the new iOS6 operating system for iPhones and iPads, was swift and angry. Within minutes of its launch yesterday users around the world were reporting that Dublin had a new airport and Sears Tower in Chicago had shrunk.

Australian Business Traveller’s John Walton found that, when he requested London’s Paddington Station, he was shown Paddington Street – some distance away from the major railway station. Meanwhile Tokyo Station, one of the world's largest train termini, had completely disappeared.

The new system is created using data from navigation specialist TomTom, the BBC reports. While Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, TomTom was quick to say it provided only data and was not responsible for how it worked.

iPhone and iPad users are particularly angry because the iOS6 upgrade automatically replaces Google Maps – long the default map application – with the new app.

As The Guardian reports, those updating their phone software will be left without Google Maps "because Google has not yet created a standalone mapping app that can be downloaded from the iTunes app store". Google’s YouTube app is also deleted in the new upgrade.

The new iPhone 5, which goes on sale on Friday and costs from £529, automatically comes with Apple Maps. So far [3]the new phone has been rapturously received, but it remains to be seen whether Apple Maps will put some people off.

"If being able to navigate is important to you in the near term, we'd recommend that you consider not upgrading to iOS6," warns Walton. The only way that iOS6 Maps is an improvement, he notes, “is if you're looking for an Apple Store. These are more prominently displayed than just about anything else in the cities where they appear."

Mashable's Chris Taylor was even more scathing. In an article entitled ‘Apple Maps: just how bad is it?’ he writes: “The answer, I’m sad to say as an Apple fan, is very bad indeed... Maps takes all the trust Apple has built up among its users over the years - trust that its products just work - and squanders nearly all of it in one go.”

Apple Maps is “pretty but dumb”, Anil Dash, a prominent New York technology entrepreneur, told The Daily Telegraph. “Worse, they've used their platform dominance to privilege their own app over a competitor's offering, even though it's a worse experience for users.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter