New Apple maps app under fire from users


Rory Cellan-Jones compares Apple's new map app with Google maps

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Inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities in Apple's new map software have provoked anger from users.

In June Apple announced it would stop using Google Maps in favour of its own system, created using data from navigation firm TomTom and others.

Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, which comes already installed on the new iPhone.

TomTom said it provided only data and was not responsible for how it worked.

The software is packaged with iOS6, the latest version of Apple's operating system, which runs on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Previously, the system had an app running mapping software from Google.

But users are now forced to use Apple's new maps once they upgrade or buy the latest iPhone - which goes on sale on Friday.

There is not currently a Google Maps app available in Apple's App Store, although Google's system is still accessible via the phone's web browser.

Museum in river

Among the user complaints regarding Apple's maps sent to the BBC were:

Screenshots of satellite coverage in Dingwall Users have complained about the quality of satellite images in the new software (bottom)
  • Some towns appear to be missing, such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.
  • Others, like Uckfield in East Sussex, are in the wrong location.
  • Satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud.
  • A search for Manchester United Football Club directs users to Sale United Football Club, a community team for ages five and above.
  • Users also reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations. Another screenshot showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river.

The Twitter account which posted the screenshot, @fake_iOS6maps, has since been suspended.

TomTom, which also licenses data to a range of other mobile manufacturers, defended its involvement.

A spokesman told the BBC that its maps provided only a "foundation" to the service.

"The user experience is determined by adding additional features to the map application such as visual imagery," a spokesman said.

"User experience fully depends on the choices these manufacturers make.

"We are confident about our map quality, as selling 65 million portable navigation devices across the world and more than 1.4m TomTom apps for iPhone in the past two years reaffirms this quality."

Prior to the release of iOS6, several developers had expressed concerns over the capability of the mapping app, in particular its ability to find businesses via search.

Spot the difference

"This is incredibly different from using Google Maps," one Denver-based blogger wrote on 13 September.

"It's a tremendous step backwards and something that cripples iOS for Apple's customers.

"I [searched] 'iPhone Repair' and 'iPad Repair' since that's relevant to our business. The results broke my heart.

"All of the work I've put into our local recognition is completely gone."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 774.

    Umm, just go into safari, open google maps, and carry on exactly as usual - the new app is rubbish, but the Internet hasn't fallen apart overnight. Surely there are more interesting things to get wound up about!

  • rate this

    Comment number 734.

    The new Apple Map is dreadful. We have lost Street View as well as having to put up with poor quality mapping and satellite images which are not as good as before. Street View is so useful for route planning - you can spot landmarks. I use it to research holiday locations even to retrace family history locations. Apple needs to think again, we have lost one of the most useful things on an iPad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 629.

    Can't beleive Apple have released this Steve Jobs must be turning in his Grave. I live in Tingley Wakefield but not according to Apple I live in Gildersome some 4 miles away and a Leeds Post code not Wakefield. I also tried the routing to my daughters, it sent me via two motorways when there is a direct rought 4 times shorter. Just wont use it until sorted and that could take months.

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    I imagine all at Google haven't stopped laughing all day. All they have to do is sit back for a few weeks, release their Google map app for iOS, charge the desperate people for it and make a fortune. The sooner the better, I think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    The new map app is terrible. The route it took me to get to work was insane. I live 1/2 a mile from a Motorway junction, yet Maps took me to the one 2 miles away, situated before it, only to have me drive down the motorway and through my normal junction.
    The satellite textures are diaboloical too. Dark, bad shadows, and incredibly low resolution.

    I can't believe they thought it was ready.


Comments 5 of 16


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