The latest version of Apple iPhone software iOS6 has been out for only a few days, but the web is already full of users voicing their disappointment about map inaccuracies and the lack of transit mode and, last but not least, a bug in the compass function that send you the opposite way when you are looking for a direction on the map.
Mashable reported that Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller released a statement in response to the negative feedback: “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.“
This weak statement is obviously not likely to satisfy frustrated users that are not really used to buy half-baked product from Apple.
It seems that Apple underestimated the task at hand to make a great mapping software and made a point to develop everything themselves rather than to rely on well proven technologies from white label third parties.
“Clearly Apple didn’t do enough testing and do not have a local understanding of the requirements in each market,“ according to Michael Cottle, vice president of sales at deCarta, a geospatial software provider. “As those of us who have been in this space for a long time know, mapping and search is a highly localized subject. Looking for “Heathrow” or “Stanstead” are local preferences, it is something that comes from an understanding of the local market requirements. You don’t gain this appreciation sitting in a cubicle in Cupertino.“
“Errors are an inevitable and ongoing part of building maps/geodata, which is why services like TomTom’s MapShare and Google’s Map Maker exist,“ moderates Patrick Connolly, analyst at ABI Research. “People forget that Google had similar problems and it has taken time for it to get to where it is today. Â It hasn’t helped that there have never been so many people to catch so many mistakes in such a short space of time, with so many mediums on which to broadcast them.“
One of the questions people may ask is if the data used by Apple is good enough. “The finger is already being pointed at partners like Waze and TomTom, but it is Apple’s responsibility to tie these sources together into a service,“ said Connolly.
“We believe that this is not a data issue. It’s a software issue,“ added Cottle.