When Apple launched the next generation of iPhone, the iPhone 5, it also released iOS 6 to the general public. A large number of users have updated their older iOS devices to iOS 6, thanks to Apple’s Over The Air update which makes the process a breeze. With iOS 6, Apple has brought more than 200 new features to the existing iOS devices, but with this update, Apple has tried out something new and replaced the default mapping app from Google Maps with its own mapping service, Apple Maps.
Technically, Apple users are forced to switch the app they use for maps. It’s the first version of Apple Maps, and there are a lot of imperfections. Apple has essentially stripped all the Google components from its mobile OS. With Apple Maps, Apple is providing users with turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps, so they wanted to develop the whole application right from the scratch, and for this they teamed up with TomTom, a popular company in the mapping business, for their data set, which isn’t as strong as what Google is equipped with, but nevertheless, it just works. It should be noted that Apple still had over a year of contract left with Google, but seems like it didn’t want any ties with a company that is threatening its own business. Apple went ahead and created its own mapping app which is based on TomTom’s data, but they have gone terribly wrong and their decision to remove Google Maps from iOS menu was perhaps a bad one, besides, Google already has many of the features which Apple seems to have added in Apple Maps.
When iOS 6 was launched, Apple described Apple Maps as “the most powerful mapping service ever”, but that is not exactly what it is as many users have reported variety of problems, including important public transport stations being missing in several places and many more. Apple Maps is seen as one of the most unreliable mapping service ever, and many companies such as Google’s Motorola and others have made fun of it. After all the criticism, Apple replaced the words “the most powerful mapping service ever” on its website with “All in a beautiful vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease.”. Good move indeed.
Going deeper into the issue, various analysts put the blame for this error on Scott Forstall, Apple’s Senior Vice President of iOS Software. A recent post by Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Apple 2.0 says that both Maps and Siri fell under Forstall’s leadership, and both the projects have been nothing but a huge disappointment.
On the flip side of the coin, Apple as a company should also be blamed because instead of pointing out both the strength and weaknesses of Apple Maps, it rather chose to market it as the “most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.”, which is a fault on its part. According to recent reports, Apple won’t be able to fix the issue with Apple Maps in the near future. What are your thoughts on this?