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Apple reportedly knew of iOS Maps troubles well before launch

post #1 of 141
Thread Starter 
Six iOS app developers claim they warned Apple of inadequacies found in iOS Maps shortly after receiving the first pre-release version in June, giving the company months of lead time to fix the apparent problems before the app debuted in iOS 6.

Maps Location Inaccuracy


The developers, who spoke to CNET under terms of anonymity, all have active apps that rely on Apple's mapping assets to function, and said they filed bug reports, sent e-mails, and posted issues to private message boards regarding the Maps problems.

"During the beta period I filed bug reports with Apple's Radar system (notorious for being ignored), posted on the forums several times, and e-mailed multiple people within Apple's MapKit team to voice our concerns," said one developer.

Apple issued four pre-release versions of Maps before finally launching the product for public consumption in September, but the sources say not much was done to fix the glaring problems which were bemoaned by consumers and pundits alike. All six developers said a number of issues like incorrect location data, cloud-covered areas, and sparsely detailed maps were well-documented, but Apple chose to ship the app as is.

"I posted at least one doomsayer rant after each (developer) beta, and I wasn't alone," another developer said. "The mood amongst the developers seemed to be that the maps were so shockingly bad that reporting individual problems was futile. What was needed wasn't so much an interface for reporting a single point as incorrect, but for selecting an entire region and saying 'all of this -- it's wrong.'"

One developer noted he was able to contact an Apple employee, who said a particular issue was "well understood," adding that the person was filing their mapping complaints correctly. However, the developer went on to say that Apple failed to release updates to bug reports and left them largely in the dark when it came to dealing with the ongoing problems.

"This has been a frustrating experience for us and we don't care where the imagery comes from, we just would like our customers to be able to have the same experience within our app when they update from iOS 5 to iOS 6," the developer said. "Instead the OS upgrade broke some of the features we built within our application despite being told that only the imagery would be swapped out."

iOS6Maps.92512.12.jpg


iOS Maps replaced the long-lived Google Maps-powered iOS app found on all versions of Apple's mobile operating system since the iPhone 3G, though many complained the new service lacked the detail and features seen in the defunct Maps app. Perhaps the most critical feature missing in Apple's service is Google's Street View, which allows users to view 360-degree photos of a specific location. Last week, however, Google rolled out a stripped-down version of the feature in its web app.

There are numerous conflcting theories as to why the company chose to use its own proprietary service when it still had one year left on its contract with Google Maps, from pushing the Android maker off iOS to disagreements over free turn-by-turn directions. However, it is widely agreed that iOS Maps wasn't up to the usual polish users have come to expect from an Apple product.

The Maps fiasco prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a letter of apology to frustrated consumers, in which the executive promised the app to get better over time.

It appears that Apple is working to fix many of the glaring issues, especially those in the Google Street View alternative dubbed "Flyover," however it remains to be seen how long it will take for Maps to be on par with rival mapping services.
post #2 of 141
Hear that? It's the sound of milk in a bucket.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #3 of 141
I dare them to gone one hour without using the word "reportedly". I've heard it like ten times today on this site.
post #4 of 141

So… developers. Not Apple employees, just six guys who had iOS 6 beta 1. 

 

And why do we care about their take on this?

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post #5 of 141
All software is released with bugs. Maps is no different.
post #6 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by axual View Post

All software is released with bugs. Maps is no different.

 

It's not if it has bugs.  It's how quickly those are fixed.  That a cloud-based service's client app still shows Columbia, SC in Columbia, South America is ludicrous.

 

Hard code the hotspots if you have to, but fix it *now*.

post #7 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by axual View Post

All software is released with bugs. Maps is no different.


Some of bugs are systematic in nature and could be fixed with a few lines of code. I have seen cases where "Mahoni Road" finds the address but "Mahoni Rd" returns no result at all (that was in a major European language, ie, different actual words but exactly the same principle). That is just sloppy coding, not a question of lacking data.

post #8 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by rufwork View Post

 

It's not if it has bugs.  It's how quickly those are fixed.  That a cloud-based service's client app still shows Columbia, SC in Columbia, South America is ludicrous.

 

Hard code the hotspots if you have to, but fix it *now*.


All you have to do to get it to go to Columbia, South Carolina to to type in "Columbia, SC, US" or "Columbia, South Carolina".

 

Otherwise, you may get Santiago de Cali, Colombia.  Which is interesting as I don't see why the search engine thinks that "Colombia" is a closer match than the actual word typed "Columbia"

post #9 of 141
First I've heard of it. There's a problem with Maps? Who are these developers?

;-)
post #10 of 141

The exception proves the rule. 

 

Of course Apple knew. There wasn't, apparently, time to fix the issues. Apple *had* to play it up as a key feature, and on time for the iPhone 5's release.

 

The split from Google was problematic. But they couldn't wait. It was a big risk and Apple got a ribbing for it. But they got the publicity they needed for an otherwise great product: the new iPhone. Apple played up iOS Maps early on in order to grab as much of the limelight as possible. I don't necessarily agree with this tactic, but a "Beta" tag would have been appreciated. In time, iOS Maps will be a superior product. I don't think this problem could have been avoided without having to wait another year, which Apple couldn't do . . . because doing so would mean they couldn't introduce the iPhone 5 with Maps as a so-called "killer" feature.

 

If it was any other company doing this I'd love to see them burned at the stake. Apple can get away with this, though, because for the most part their ecosystem is truly without peer, and so they get graded on a (well-deserved) curve. We already *know* Apple will stick to their vision and make iOS Maps truly spectacular. 

post #11 of 141

Of course, Google maps is perfect.

 

Today's error, from Australia, which is not part of the USA.

 

I'm looking for a road that isn't there

 

 

 

It's there in iOS 6 maps

 

 

It's there in a search.

 

 

There is a pin with nothing there.

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post #12 of 141
Quote:

Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Six iOS app developers claim they warned Apple of inadequacies found in iOS Maps shortly after receiving the first pre-release version in June, giving the company months of lead time to fix the apparent problems before the app debuted in iOS 6.

...

The developers, who spoke to CNET under terms of anonymity, all have active apps that rely on Apple's mapping assets to function, and said they filed bug reports, sent e-mails, and posted issues to private message boards regarding the Maps problems.

I think that Apple (and any developer) should never, ever, ever release any product under any circumstances that has any bugs, inadequacies or omissions. In the case of the Maps app, they should have a had a single, final review of every square inch of the map, both the photos and the road/POI/turns, routing, etc.data.

And street view? This should be mandatory on ALL mapping apps.

I mean, how did anyone ever, find their way somewhere before it was released. Most likely, get in the general area, then like a pinball, just bounce around until they ended up at the correct place.

post #13 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by rufwork View Post

 

It's not if it has bugs.  It's how quickly those are fixed.  That a cloud-based service's client app still shows Columbia, SC in Columbia, South America is ludicrous.

 

Hard code the hotspots if you have to, but fix it *now*.

 

Say, what?

 

 

 

Fix what, your ill informed post?

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post #14 of 141
A seventh developer raises hand right here.
post #15 of 141

Frankly I'd be far more concerned if for some reason Apple WASN'T fully aware of all the issues, wouldn't say much for their QA if that were the case.

 

And as someone else has already mentioned, it's interesting how Apple mistakes are front page news but yet the same mistakes by others are barely worth a casual mention.  Heck, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that Google Maps finally showed my house in the correct place (vs in the middle of an intersection).  Not to mention the frustrations of having the old maps app show me Starbucks HQ in Seattle when it can't find one in the area that I was viewing in the map (doesn't matter to me if this was an Apple issue or Google issue, bottom line is that the old maps app had it's fair share of wonkiness but yet I didn't see late night tv comedians making fun of it).

post #16 of 141

Err, he said SC not NC.  It indeed doesn't find Columbia, SC properly.  I think the current app is having issues with abbreviations, I had a issue where it couldn't find "foo dr" but it did find "foo drive".

post #17 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by axual View Post

All software is released with bugs. Maps is no different.

Only most times they aren't known to the software house. Software released with known bugs is a sign of deception.
post #18 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

Frankly I'd be far more concerned if for some reason Apple WASN'T fully aware of all the issues, wouldn't say much for their QA if that were the case.

 

And as someone else has already mentioned, it's interesting how Apple mistakes are front page news but yet the same mistakes by others are barely worth a casual mention.  Heck, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that Google Maps finally showed my house in the correct place (vs in the middle of an intersection).  Not to mention the frustrations of having the old maps app show me Starbucks HQ in Seattle when it can't find one in the area that I was viewing in the map (doesn't matter to me if this was an Apple issue or Google issue, bottom line is that the old maps app had it's fair share of wonkiness but yet I didn't see late night tv comedians making fun of it).

 

Yep, even when you post evidence in the form of screenshots, right in their faces.

 

The whining continues.

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post #19 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post


Only most times they aren't known to the software house. Software released with known bugs is a sign of deception.

 

So the example I gave of a Google search leading to a point on a map, where apparently there is no road, is deception.

 

OK then, I'm used to that from Google.

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post #20 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post

Err, he said SC not NC.  It indeed doesn't find Columbia, SC properly.  I think the current app is having issues with abbreviations, I had a issue where it couldn't find "foo dr" but it did find "foo drive".

Oh, ok

 

 

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post #21 of 141
Try it without putting in "United States." Considering I live in the US, I shouldn't have to put my country designation in there. Also, Columbia, SC is THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

w00master
post #22 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaelian View Post

A seventh developer raises hand right here.

Really? I thought you were not supposed to be evolved with testing or submitting bugs. If you have forgotten...


Originally Posted by Vaelian

OK, dude, but don't forget that language evolves! There's also no need to go out of your way to tell me your gender and rough age unless you're looking for something else...
If I implied, I did not state, and I did not enroll in the program to test anything other than my own code on current and upcoming platforms, be able to run stuff I write that would never get accepted in the App Store on my own devices, and report bugs that prevent my own code from working on those platforms. I did not agree at any point to go out of my way to test Apple software. I Do Not Work For Apple!
I have code to contribute, that's what developers do.
What I want is Google Maps back, and we both know that's not gonna happen.
I don't dispute that (nor do I know what Siri has to do with this argument at all) as I love Siri as well (though you're actually referring to Dictation, not Siri) and use it daily to setup reminders and calendar events.
If Apple forced anyone to report anything, we'd all be submitting obvious stuff to meet the quota, thus defeating the final goal.




I just have a hard time believing you're being both honest and sincere while you "raises hand right here"....

Let me know what App you developed that utilizes The Apple Map Application. I'll buy it and give you your dues for such a task.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this small piece of conversation was taken out of context. You were indeed referencing your involvement with Apple Maps and my point of submitting bugs/problems when you wrote this response.
Edited by Vadania - 10/9/12 at 6:09pm
post #23 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Oh, ok




Try it without putting in "United States." Considering I live in the US, I shouldn't have to put my country designation in there. Also, Columbia, SC is THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

w00master
post #24 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

Try it without putting in "United States." Considering I live in the US, I shouldn't have to put my country designation in there. Also, Columbia, SC is THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
w00master

 

Auto complete did it for me.

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post #25 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So the example I gave of a Google search leading to a point on a map, where apparently there is no road, is deception.

 

OK then, I'm used to that from Google.

As we all know you live in a brand new development that is not accurately presented in Google Maps. Thanks for the reminder.

 

My much older neighborhood has been downgraded and is a complete grayscale disaster now in Apple Maps, which I have also mentioned on previous occasions.

 

 

BTW

It does appear they have fixed the Columbia SC issue at least on my iPhone.

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post #26 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Auto complete did it for me.

So what? It didn't for me and many many many other users. Again, Columbia, SC is the Capitol of South Carolina. I live in the US. There is GPS on my iPhone 5. It (in theory) knows where I am at.

I should not have to type in "united states" in a map search for the CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

W00master
post #27 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Auto complete did it for me.

I just searched "Columbia, SC" and got the one in Chile. Autocomplete did not put United States in for me. Perhaps you've been typing it a lot.

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post #28 of 141
Code:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Auto complete did it for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneaburns View Post

I just searched "Columbia, SC" and got the one in Chile. Autocomplete did not put United States in for me. Perhaps you've been typing it a lot.

BOOM.
post #29 of 141

On the iPhone, Apple’s new maps are far better than Google’s ever were for the following reasons:

 

  1. Vector maps use less data so Apple maps actually load on the painfully slow AT&T Edge Network (read: antiquated and shitty) many of us are stuck with when navigating rural places. Google’s NEVER did.
  2. Apple’s new Maps.app caches enough data to continue to work if (when) you lose network data. Google’s NEVER did.
  3. Google maps have often led me miles (sometime 15 or more freaking miles) out of my way, especially in rural areas. Apple's have not failed me, yet…

 

Yes, Apple needs more points of interest to flesh out the map data—but Google maps could never reliably indicate a gas station or a diner off a highway exit or even in downtown freaking-ass Baltimore so what the hell was so great about Google maps? Street view? Oh yeah, that's the best thing ever when you’re low on gas in the ’hood seven-hundred miles from home and Google shows one gas station 45 minutes away even though there are several within walking distance if it would only tell you where &^*^&%&$%#$@%$#!

 

So come on world, keep on bitching about weird looking shit in 3D flyover etc., that’s worth launching a fresh crusade against Apple, for sure.

Let’s milk this non-issue FOREVER.


Edited by MacManFelix - 10/9/12 at 6:39pm
post #30 of 141

Apple should not be let off the hook on this, they made a decision to ditch Google Maps before they were ready.  They could have chosen to go another year while they built a more robust map replacement, but they didn't.  Plus given their $100+ Billion cash hoard their really is no excuse for a half assed maps app, they have the coin, the resources and they certainly could have bought their way into whatever they needed.


That said, I have numerous GPS apps on my iP5 and I use what works for the given task, iOS 6 Maps and TomTom as well.  Just depends on what I am doing.  But unless Google Maps offers turn by turn in a native iOS app I wouldn't even bother putting it on my iP5.

post #31 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

So what? It didn't for me and many many many other users. Again, Columbia, SC is the Capitol of South Carolina. I live in the US. There is GPS on my iPhone 5. It (in theory) knows where I am at.
I should not have to type in "united states" in a map search for the CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
W00master

Don't feel bad, W00master. You made a valid point as did the article. However, certain people here (generally those with posts numbering in the thousands) take any critique of Apple as a personal affront and get very defensive of their beloved.

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post #32 of 141

The sickening part is because it is Apple that released this crapware, the sheeple will find any and every excuse for the terrible decision to release the buggy software and then charge users a ton for the new phone. Imagine the backlash if Google, Microsoft, Samsung, or Rim that released this bad app. There is NO excuse for this given the price premium of an iPhone 5. Steve jobs would have LOST IT if this was released, and that is why Apple has already changed, for the worst,

post #33 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apfeltosh View Post

The sickening part is because it is Apple that released this crapware, the sheeple will find any and every excuse for the terrible decision to release the buggy software and then charge users a ton for the new phone. Imagine the backlash if Google, Microsoft, Samsung, or Rim that released this bad app. There is NO excuse for this given the price premium of an iPhone 5. Steve jobs would have LOST IT if this was released, and that is why Apple has already changed, for the worst,

The app has serious potential. I hope they will put significant resources into fixing it. But they rushed it and now have egg on their face. They should be able to take a little ridicule until it's fixed. Hopefully that will be very soon.

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post #34 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apfeltosh View Post

Imagine the backlash if Google, Microsoft, Samsung, or Rim that released this bad app. 

 

 

There wouldn't have been one. Because it would have been in line with expectations. 

post #35 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post


So what? It didn't for me and many many many other users. Again, Columbia, SC is the Capitol of South Carolina. I live in the US. There is GPS on my iPhone 5. It (in theory) knows where I am at.
I should not have to type in "united states" in a map search for the CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
W00master

 

I didn't have to type it in, maybe it's different outside the US, I was presented with options I tapped the United States one.

 

 

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post #36 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post


Try it without putting in "United States." Considering I live in the US, I shouldn't have to put my country designation in there. Also, Columbia, SC is THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
w00master

Yeah but to be real, it is South Carolina.  Perhaps Apple was embarrassed you are part of the union and wanted to try and right the wrong?  

 

And by the way, Columbia, SC pulls up your city.  Not sure how you have to put it in to get it to go to South America. 

post #37 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by axual View Post

All software is released with bugs. Maps is no different.

The MS camp used the same argument for Vista. The Android camp uses the same argument for every release they have. Saying "Well, iOS/OS X has bugs, too." doesn't mean that Vista and Android releases haven't been relatively shitty.

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post #38 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

Try it without putting in "United States." Considering I live in the US, I shouldn't have to put my country designation in there. Also, Columbia, SC is THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
w00master

When I type just "Columbia", "Columbia, SC, United States" is the very first option in the autocomplete list. The entire list is full of different "Columbias" all over the US. What it does not give me, is any South American options. Nor should it, since those places aren't even spelled the same.

This is par for the course though. I've yet to see an example of a problem in iOS maps that I can actually replicate. Every time someone posts about some new crazy error, I go check it, and not only is the problem the poster is talking about not there, what is on Apple's map is usually more accurate than Google's.
post #39 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apfeltosh View Post

Steve jobs would have LOST IT if this was released, and that is why Apple has already changed, for the worst,

 

He didn't lose it when FCP X was released.

 

He didn't lose it when the iPhone 4's antenna problems were plastered all over the news. In fact, he defended Apple.

 

He didn't lose it when OS X Lion lost "Save As."

 

So far, the post-Jobs Apple is no worse off than it was during Jobs' watch.

post #40 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

He didn't lose it when FCP X was released.

He didn't lose it when the iPhone 4's antenna problems were plastered all over the news. In fact, he defended Apple.

He didn't lose it when OS X Lion lost "Save As."

So far, the post-Jobs Apple is no worse off than it was during Jobs' watch.

Fattty Nano, touchscreen Nano, buttonless Shuffle, iMovie '08, etc.

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