NYT: iOS Maps another internet services blunder for Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A New York Times report on Friday says Apple's new iOS Maps app and corresponding service is another casualty of the company's lack of focus in offering reliable internet-based services, and reveals the original iPhone wasn't planned to have mapping software until mere weeks before its debut.

iOS 6 Maps
Apple's Maps has been widely criticized since its debut alongside iOS 6. | Source: Apple


The publication cites a former Apple iPhone software engineer familiar with the matter who said late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs requested a mapping solution be included with the original iPhone "just weeks" before it was scheduled to be unveiled in 2007, alluding that the service was more of an afterthought than a planned feature.

According to the source, two engineers were tasked with creating a maps app for the original iPhone's presentation and the company ultimately struck a deal with Google to use the internet search giant's mapping data.

Executives at Apple were reportedly surprised by the popularity of the Google Maps-powered app, and quickly became leery of the large amounts of user metrics data Google now had access to, said an unnamed former Apple executive.

The anecdote serves to paint a larger picture of Apple's reported lack of attention to building internet services that match the level of polish seen in its hardware. The Times claims "numerous interviews" with former Apple employees "made it clear that Mr. Jobs and other executives rarely paid as much attention to Internet services as they did to the devices for which Apple is best known."

Maps on iPhone 5


Citing various Apple attempts at such services, including the much-maligned MobileMe launch and now-defunct Ping social music network, the publication noted an apparent inability to make an internet-based product that worked.

?I always felt if you had to name an Achilles? heel at Apple, it?s Internet services,? said former Apple product designer Andrew Borovsky, who previously worked on MobileMe. ?It?s clearly an issue.?

Creating an internet service from the ground up is no easy task, even for a company as large as Apple which had already seen success with iTunes. Former Apple executives claim the disappointing performance of MobileMe was a "symptom of a lack of appreciation" by company execs, including Jobs, of the difference between an online service and an online store. Tantamount to the arguable lack of foresight was the iPhone maker's secrecy, which wouldn't allow services like MobileMe to be thoroughly vetted before launch.

As for the new iOS Maps app, another former executive said colleagues still with Apple are "embarrassed by it," claiming the current problems are due to the merging of map data coming from a variety of sources. Some of this data is said to be flawed.

Incomplete Data
Google Maps' building data (left) compared to same view on Apple's Maps (right).


Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday apologized to customers dissatisfied with Maps in iOS 6, trying to stem the flood of criticism targeting the new app's shortcomings.

?I think there?s a bigger question of whether hardware companies can be services companies,? said Leslie Grandy, a former Apple manager responsible for the Online Apple Store.

It appears Apple has little time to rectify the situation, the publication said, as smartphones become increasingly reliant on internet service, an area where Android maker Google has the "home-turf advantage."
«13456723

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 454
    Lol

    So apple struggles out of the gate with their map app which shows obvious potential for being the best app for maps once they fix a few things.

    Googles already copying in their own misguided way (a 45 degree bitmap is still a bitmap).

    And then to try to lambast all of apples Internet services because of this? Laughably reaching. Trying a bit too hard.

    Mobile me had launch trouble because of how ambitious it was and quickly became known for being awesome. Not a negative.

    Ping sims never was. And that's ok. Apple is just used to making everything they do perfect and desirable. So when ping turned out to not be all that wanted, they shuttered it. Much like google with its many experiments. And it's not like apple killed an ecosystem. Zune anyone? "plays4sure" yeah right...

    In fact, from MobileMe to iTunes, to iCloud, apple seems to "get" Internet services like few companies do.

    Apples headed in the right direction with maps. They'll have it in top form inside a year. That's saying a lot considering googles head start.

    Here's hoping apple goes into the search business as well.
  • Reply 2 of 454


    So far using Maps in my area seems to be ok when I looked for things. It pinned them correctly. But we'll see I suppose the more I use to see how it performs. It can only go up from here with future updates. 

  • Reply 3 of 454
    Woah! Apple has been in the internet services space longer than most players out there today, going as far back as the free iTools.

    Microsoft had Hotmail which was basically email and IM, Apple had the email, personal web pages, was in the cloud (iDisk) long before many others.

    Sure, they have had a couple of hiccups along the way with the launch of MobileMe and now the new Maps perhaps should have been left to bake in the oven a little longer (although, as this website has been pointing out the issues with Maps have been exaggerated, to say the least, and in some cases fabricated).

    None of this justifies any conclusion that Apple either is not good at or not dedicated to Internet services.

    As to the comments about Maps on the iPhone, I recall reading from the Apple/Samsung litigation that iPhone%u2019s design was completely overhauled only months before it was unveiled. But even so, the iPhone was only unveiled because of all the regulatory approvals it had to go through before launch, which would have outed the device months before Apple had planned to launch it. So, in fact, it is a bit misleading to call Maps on the iPhone an %u201Cafterthought%u201D just because work may have begun only a few weeks before it was unveiled.

    Apple has a reputation for excellence, and deservedly so. It seems people have come to expect a lot from Apple and then magnify the mishaps when, as Tim Cook acknowledged in his open letter, Apple has not met its own exacting standards.
  • Reply 4 of 454


    Sorry, edited this in Pages before pasting into the web form; second last paragraph should read:


     


    As to the comments about Maps on the iPhone, I recall reading from the Apple/Samsung litigation that iPhone's design was completely overhauled only months before it was unveiled. But even so, the iPhone was only unveiled because of all the regulatory approvals it had to go through before launch, which would have outed the device months before Apple had planned to launch it. So, in fact, it is a bit misleading to call Maps on the iPhone an "afterthought" just because work may have begun only a few weeks before it was unveiled.

  • Reply 5 of 454
    Am I the only one who thinks the NYT's version of journalism consists of kicking a man when he's down. I have to roll my eyes with each new "unnamed source"
  • Reply 6 of 454
    hypoluxa wrote: »
    So far using Maps in my area seems to be ok when I looked for things. It pinned them correctly. But we'll see I suppose the more I use to see how it performs. It can only go up from here with future updates. 

    Exactly.

    The handful of street addresses I've tried with Apple Maps have worked. Then again... most street addresses have been around for a while... unless it's a brand new subdivision or shopping center.

    Where Apple will have to improve is points-of-interests and other data.
  • Reply 7 of 454
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Seems like nowadays we can rely on NYT to have a dig at Apple at every unfortunate incidents.
  • Reply 8 of 454
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member


    Hey New York Times,


     


    WHO OWN'S THE LARGEST ONLINE MUSIC STORE THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN?


     


    Bunch of f**king bozo's.

  • Reply 9 of 454
    hypoluxa wrote: »
    So far using Maps in my area seems to be ok when I looked for things. It pinned them correctly. But we'll see I suppose the more I use to see how it performs. It can only go up from here with future updates. 

    Exactly.
    The handful of street addresses I've tried with Apple Maps have worked. Then again... most street addresses have been around for a while... unless it's a brand new subdivision or shopping center.
    Where Apple will have to improve is points-of-interests and other data.

    Maps will never be fixed until it gets a built-in street view. We'd been spoiled.
  • Reply 10 of 454
    I call it FUD.

    J.
  • Reply 11 of 454
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Prediction: Apple will have the best mapping service within a year.
  • Reply 12 of 454
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,453member
    I agree. It is all about trying to stir up more anti Apple sentiment. The article is even titled in a way to mislead and get eyeballs. It reads at first glance as if the current solution was a last minute idea. This is tabloid journalism at its worst and a trend here on AI also and frankly turning me off reading AI more and more.

    It seems AI is more interested in attracting Apple haters these days. I am going to go read Mac Rumors now and I may not be back here much as I used to be.
  • Reply 13 of 454
    adamcadamc Posts: 582member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post





    Maps will never be fixed until it gets a built-in street view. We'd been spoiled.


    If you like street view use goof, er, goog map. You need not use Apple map app.

  • Reply 14 of 454
    gtr wrote: »
    Prediction: Apple will have the best mapping service within a year.

    I'd say Apple will have the best mapping service in many regards within a year. There new Maps for iOS 6 is already worlds above iOS 5 in many regards, but some of that is because of Google's poor backend offerings. I haven't directly compared it to Google Maps on Android and Nokia Maps on WinPh7 but I suspect Apple Maps would best them in some ways right now.

    I'm not sure I'll think Apple has the de facto best mapping service if they don't offer every major feature that is currently available by others. A street view service, for example, would be needed.

    I was recorded by a Navteq True car whilst standing in line for my iPhone last week. I didn't even know they were doing such a service. If Apple can license this tech it appears to be much better than the game of Myst running on a 200MHz Pentium PC that we currently have from Google Street View.


    Now, I'm sure someone is saying "But Apple won't use Navteq because they want to own the entire mapping service." Not true. They still license several aspects of Apple Maps with TomTom, Waze, Yelp, and at least a dozen others. Owning your own maps doesn't mean not contracting with others for support.
  • Reply 15 of 454


    So, NYT...


     


     



     


    ...did you also check Google Maps? It's no better. The monument is in the middle of the street and the bus stop in the green.


     


     



     


    But who cares? Everybody navigation to this location using Google Maps or Apple's Maps will find it.

  • Reply 16 of 454
    irelandireland Posts: 17,771member
    Buy Twitter, Apple. Please.
  • Reply 17 of 454
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,453member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I'd say Apple will have the best mapping service in many regards within a year. There new Maps for iOS 6 is already worlds above iOS 5 in many regards, but some of that is because of Google's poor backend offerings. I haven't directly compared it to Google Maps on Android and Nokia Maps on WinPh7 but I suspect Apple Maps would best them in some ways right now.
    I'm not sure I'll think Apple has the de facto best mapping service if they don't offer every major feature that is currently available by others. A street view service, for example, would be needed.
    I was recorded by a Navteq True car whilst standing in line for my iPhone last week. I didn't even know they were doing such a service. If Apple can license this tech it appears to be much better than the game of Myst running on a 200MHz Pentium PC that we currently have from Google Street View.
    Now, I'm sure someone is saying "But Apple won't use Navteq because they want to own the entire mapping service." Not true. They still license several aspects of Apple Maps with TomTom, Waze, Yelp, and at least a dozen others. Owning your own maps doesn't mean not contracting with others for support.

    Thanks for the link. The Navteq system seems to be the road based equivalent (with more bells and whistles) to the SAAB flight based recording system, they would fit together like a hand in a glove! I hope Apple is either licensing this or buying this company!
  • Reply 18 of 454


    Regardless of what the what Google tries, Apple maps architecture's technology is years a ahead of Google Maps and Google knows this and Apple knows this.  Google knows that the maps will be toast soon.  And when layers of map information start coming out from third parties, Apple Maps superiority will really show.


     


    Google's static 3D images are crap.  Even their street view is inconsistent with plenty of omissions.


     


    Apple Maps' issues are much easier to fix than Google-Maps' architectural deficiencies.


     


    Time will tell.

  • Reply 19 of 454


    Regardless of what the what Google tries, Apple maps' technology is years a ahead of Google Maps and Google knows this and Apple knows this.  Google knows that its maps will be toast soon.  And when layers of map information start coming out from third parties for Apple Maps, its superiority will really show.


     


    Google's static 3D bitmaps are crap.  Even their street view is inconsistent and with plenty of omissions.


     


    Apple Maps' issues are much easier to fix than Google-Maps' architectural deficiencies.


     


    Time will tell.

  • Reply 20 of 454


    test

Sign In or Register to comment.