Apple promises maps app will 'improve'

Queue for iPhone 5
Image caption The mapping problems emerged as thousands queued for an iPhone 5

Apple has responded to fierce criticism of its mapping software, saying the application will "improve".

The mapping software angered users who said it was riddled with inaccuracies, misplaced towns and cities and omitted key landmarks.

Apple said it appreciated all the customer feedback it was receiving about the app and would work hard to improve it.

The problems emerged a day before the global launch of its iPhone 5 handset.

Hundreds of people have camped out for days to ensure they are among the first to buy one of the smartphones. At Apple's flagship store on London's Regent Street almost 1300 people were in line for one of the phones.

The mapping system comes with updates to Apple's phone operating system and is bundled in with the iPhone 5.

Lost towns

Apple embarked on the development of its own mapping software after deciding it no longer wanted to use Google's equivalent. Apple's own system has been created using data from navigation firm TomTom and others.

In a statement Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said the launch of Apple Maps was a major undertaking for the firm.

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

"We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get," she said.

"We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better," added Ms Muller.

Apple was also planning to work closely with external developers to put the work they have done on apps for local transport into the mapping software, she said.

On Friday TomTom, which provides the data underlying the map app, said it was "more than willing" to help Apple improve the application.

"We stand by the quality of our maps," said TomTom spokeswoman Caroline Fisher. She added that although TomTom did not have a team in place at Apple it was happy to supply developers to help make the app work better.

It is unclear whether this will be enough to mollify users who took to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media networks to mock the failings of the mapping application.

The BBC received a lot of complaints about Apple's maps, with users saying that some towns, such as Stratford Upon Avon, were missing and others were in the wrong place.

In addition some places, including a train station, were shown to be in the ocean and many others were wrongly labelled.

Before the release of the iOS6, Apple's updated mobile operating system, many developers had warned about the poor quality of the mapping app. It was particularly poor, they said, at finding local businesses via search.

Apple seems to be aware of a need to beef up its mapping expertise. Many tech news sites noted that Apple had placed a lot of adverts on its jobs site for mapping experts in the past week or so.

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.

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