Apple (AAPL) Urges Patience Over New iPhone 5 Maps App Mess

Apple (AAPL)’s new Maps app, which was purposely created by the tech giant to replace Google (GOOG) Maps in the newly-released iOS 6, continues to get a ton of complaints over missing features and glitches, and with good reason. While we have faith Apple being Apple will eventually get the issues cleared up, the Web for the time being is full of stories about how the Apple Maps app in iOS 6 — touted by Cupertino as the main software change in the new iPhone — is proving to be a poor iOS 5 Google Maps app replacement.

Some of the stories say the new Maps app often displays shops and restaurants streets away from their original location, while others say they’ve followed directions to a destination and ended up to a completely wrong street or address. Another widely cited issue with AMaps, besides the difference in detail from Apple Maps to Google Maps, is that it’s not as comprehensive as Google’s offering. For instance, important sites including some local landmarks and entertainment venues listed by Google Maps seem to be missing.

“Apple’s made a new product that actually is pretty but dumb,” said Anil Dash, a prominent New York tech entrepreneur.

“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.”

Walt Mossberg, a well known Wall Street Journal tech writer, said “the [Apple] app is in other ways a step backward from the familiar Google app. For instance, while Apple’s maps feature a 3-D “Flyover” view of some central cities, they lack Google’s very useful ground-level photographic street views. And they also lack public-transit routing. Apple will instead link you to third-party transit apps.”

“If you haven’t quite mastered New York City’s subway system,” says Engadget “you won’t get any help from your iPhone 5. Curiously, the app offers to give you public transportation directions, but should you choose that option it pops you straight into the App Store with a search for “Routing Apps.” Right now, there are zero results.”

Apple spoke out today about the Maps app issue via a public statement issued to All Things D, saying, essentially, that customers need to be more patient.

“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” spokeswoman Trudy Muller told All Things D. “We are excited to offer this service 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.”

While that does make sense, the fact the new AMaps leave a lot to be desired is an embarrassment for a company that prides itself on making “great products.” Perhaps Apple should have tagged the app with the “Beta” moniker like it did with Siri. That way they would have avoided lists like the one posted by Huffington Post with the worst or funniest mistakes found in the app, which is clearly not an iOS 6 ready product.

4 Comments on Apple (AAPL) Urges Patience Over New iPhone 5 Maps App Mess

  1. In specific to new apple map, I find it to be much easier to use. Turn by turn directions eliminates the need for a nother app. It was prompt and very accurate with my use.

  2. At least in my use I find AMaps better than GMaps most of the time. For example, two restaurants that opened recently (one a little over a year ago and the other about 6 months ago) near me were both not listed in GMaps but they are both there in AMaps. The traffic overlay shows which side of a road is slow instead of just the whole road, and the AMaps turn-by-turn is the best I’ve ever seen.

    I miss the street view a little but not hugely, and while I used the transit schedules while visiting San Francisco it’s not something that was a part of my daily life so I don’t miss them. I’m sure people who live in cities with good public transportation have need of this and it’s the first thing Apple needs to add.

    For a first release it’s amazing. And unlike the Google situation where they kept addin features to Android and ignoring iOS, this will get better quickly!

  3. Tell Apple to bring back google maps app for the ipad. Updated to IOS6 and am very disappointed with the new maps app. Not good. Was thinking of getting an iphone soon, but now that idea is on hold. Maybe I will look at a different smart phone that has google maps on it and forget about apple and iphone. Cheaper also. What a stupid decision.

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