Project management 'failure' behind absence of Apple Maps updates at WWDC - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2014
A number of improvements to Apple's mapping service that were slated to hit the stage at last week's Worldwide Developers Conference did not appear after poor planning and "internal politics" caused deadlines to be missed, a new report alleges.

Maps
Apple Maps as seen in OS X Mavericks.


Much of the blame for the absence of long-rumored features -- such as public transportation integration and a new, more reliable data backend -- during the WWDC keynote address was heaped at the feet of project managers, according to unnamed sources who spoke with TechCrunch. Combined with a loss of engineering talent, these problems were said to have overloaded the development team.

"Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time," one source said. "Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project."

Another insider also blamed office politics, but did not specify at what level the problems occurred. The maps team reports to internet software and services chief Eddy Cue, though it is unclear how development responsibilities are split with software boss Craig Federighi.

"I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group," that person told the publication.

Apple was widely expected to show off the fruits of its recent mapping acquisition spree at WWDC. Despite the no-show, the company continues to snap up smaller mapping firms, acquiring social search startup Spotsetter late last week.

That purchase joins earlier buyouts of Embark, HopStop, Broadmap and Locationary. With so many recent location-based acquisitions, it was widely expected that Maps in iOS 8 would include improved geolocation, more detailed point-of-interest data, and public transit routing.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 123
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I know it's an unsubstantiated claim but it's unfortunate to read when there was a mostly undue backlash Maps.

    I use it almost exclusively and nearly every day, however, the other day I did have to fire up maps.google.com (hate the new UI) so I could choose an alternate route for someone down HWY-1 from WWDC to LA since Apple Maps would only let me choose HWY-101 or I-5 as options.

    I don't know if same limitations exists on Google's iOS app but that's beside the point as I feel Apple needs to make maps.apple.com live instead of making into a parser for locations at maps.google.com.
  • Reply 2 of 123
    stuffestuffe Posts: 392member
    Might explain the lack of Eddy Cue on stage at WWDC, if he had nothing to show.
  • Reply 3 of 123
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,291member
    The site wrote about how many rumors got it all wrong about iOS 8. Now the backlash is picking up steam and being even more negative than ever before. It started with Beats now Maps. There is much more to come.
  • Reply 4 of 123
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    stuffe wrote: »
    Might explain the lack of Eddy Cue on stage at WWDC, if he had nothing to show.
    But Apple showed off lots of iCloud features and Eddy oversees that. Man I wish Apple would have bought Waze instead of Beats. I want to see Apple become as independent from Google as possible.
  • Reply 5 of 123
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,334member
    Internal politics is what has damaged Microsoft for many years. I hope this isn't going to be the future at Apple too.
  • Reply 6 of 123
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I know it's an unsubstantiated claim but it's unfortunate to read when there was a mostly undue backlash Maps.



    I use it almost exclusively and nearly every day, however, the other day I did have to fire up maps.google.com (hate the new UI) so I could choose an alternate route for someone down HWY-1 from WWDC to LA since Apple Maps would only let me choose HWY-101 or I-5 as options.



    I don't know if same limitations exists on Google's iOS app but that's beside the point as I feel Apple needs to make maps.apple.com live instead of making into a parser for locations at maps.google.com.

    I have used Apple maps almost exclusively since it was developed and the change from then until now is amazing. Just a few weeks ago I was trying out the live traffic feature for the first time and was amazed that it showed a traffic slowdown because of an accident that was only 15 minutes old....and that's in Vancouver, BC....a "foreign" country. It might not be perfect, hardly anything is, but it's making giant strides, imho.

  • Reply 7 of 123
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Man I wish Apple would have bought Waze instead of Beats.

    1) I fail to see how these are mutually exclusive.

    2) If this is true buying a map-focused company does nothing when you don't have the focus or talent to implement their technologies.

    3) Apple Maps already license from Waze.
  • Reply 8 of 123
    quibellquibell Posts: 2member
    Be an intelligent reader - Always ask yourself who benefits from any rumor/obscured commentary...

    This story seems highly suspicious in light of the other unsubstantiated rumor that Apple is aggressively mapping the inside of Office Buildings.

    Let's face it - Other providers are scared of what Apple can offer in this space, and are taking every opportunity to attack wherever possible.

    Where is the "So What" to this? If these sources are so well connected, what is Apple doing about it? After spending millions on mapping related companies, is it rational to believe that Apple management just threw up their hands and said "oh well, I guess we'll just let maps go"
  • Reply 9 of 123
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,434member
    Features are ready when they are ready. How many times could this article have been written under Steve Jobs? All the time! He reportedly sent the programers back to the drawing board on updates all the time and usually refused to release it before it was ready. The other misleading part of this article neglects to mention Apple has been silently updating Maps since it's release when ever new stuff was ready.
  • Reply 10 of 123
    patsupatsu Posts: 430member
    They acquired quite a few companies to work on Maps. It is natural for multiple parties to take time to consolidate. These pieces may be done on completely different tech and approaches. Those who are impatient will leave early, citing all sorts of excuses and reasons. I have seen it happen in many startups. You can't prevent it since it's their nature. The rest will move forward.

    They may also want to build on top of Metal (for A7 devices), and other newer iOS8 tech. I would give them enough time to start from a solid foundation, rather than just showing something to keep up. It's not like they are not delivering. WWDC brought vector maps for China, Spotlight map search integration, indoor mapping. They are probably working on transit stuff worldwide (China and Japan also ?).

    A lot of new tech didn't get mentioned in WWDC too, such as the P2P AirPlay, FaceTime conferencing, etc. We will probably hear more about them by or in fall.
  • Reply 11 of 123
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    Internal politics is what has damaged Microsoft for many years. I hope this isn't going to be the future at Apple too.

    I hear you, but let's face it, the larger the company, the more "opportunity" for internal politics to develop. It's inevitable. As we move forward Tim will have an opportunity to show his leadership skills. Here's hoping he's up to the task. I'm betting he is.

  • Reply 12 of 123
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    newbee wrote: »
    I hear you, but let's face it, the larger the company, the more "opportunity" for internal politics to develop. It's inevitable. As we move forward Tim will have an opportunity to show his leadership skills. Here's hoping he's up to the task. I'm betting he is.

    I think he is, too, but unfortunately any misstep will be seen as proof he's not right for the job even though Steve Jobs had many missteps during his tenure as CEO.
  • Reply 13 of 123
    stuffestuffe Posts: 392member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    But Apple showed off lots of iCloud features and Eddy oversees that. Man I wish Apple would have bought Waze instead of Beats. I want to see Apple become as independent from Google as possible.

     

    True, sadly Google already bought Waze...

  • Reply 14 of 123
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member

    Convenient rumor timing about the supposed problems in Apple. Good way to get some cheap stock.

  • Reply 15 of 123
    kent909kent909 Posts: 731member
    A new unnamed report from unnamed sources says something that did not happen, was supposed to happen. Also that it did not happen for some unattractive reasons. All of this in a story written by someone named AppleInsider Staff. Who would name their kid that. This has to be one of the weakest attempts at journalism one could find.
  • Reply 16 of 123
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    Although I have found Apple Maps to be accurate and Google Maps to be inaccurate in two cases, I still use Google Maps.

     

    I like Street View. Also, for Thailand, Google Maps is mature and Apple Maps is a joke.

     

    Apple should stick to its core competencies. They should not be in the map business. Mapping is not an easy thing to do.

  • Reply 17 of 123
    patsupatsu Posts: 430member
    At the end of the day, these negative rumors will strengthen the resolve of the Maps team. People are getting numb on these FUDs too.

    We will see more updates along the way since the OS seeding has started. And we don't even know about the h/w yet other than the same old tired iPhone 6 case photos.
  • Reply 18 of 123
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    Internal politics is what has damaged Microsoft for many years. I hope this isn't going to be the future at Apple too.

    "Internal politics" will ALWAYS exist in any organization where there are human beings working.

     

    This rumor is completely worthless. There were clearly delays (as I am sure there almost are with almost every project), but this being Maps, the media is blowing it up disproportionately.

  • Reply 19 of 123
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    Apple has billions of dollars and they should spend that on their own street view feature.

  • Reply 20 of 123
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 551member

    Maps are extremely difficult to manage - the data set is huge, constantly changing, and from a users standpoint needs to be nearly perfect or it is completely useless.  

     

    Google has years head start with their acquisition of Keyhole (now Google Earth).  That data set is amazing and Google has done a tremendous job with their KML hooks to allow customization and more importantly crowd sourced corrections to their map sets.

     

    Apple needs to "go slow" with its maps initiative - making sure that its base data sets are accurate, and more importantly updated.   Their partners (Filemaker I'm thinking of you) need to integrate Apple's maps into their workflow and there needs to be a feedback system to ensure constant updates (this will be especially important as Apple rolls out its car navigation system).  

     

    I now use Apple maps about half of the time (Google Earth or Maps the other half).  Overall I like Apple's mapping and it has certainly improved since initial rollout (much of the initial media negativity was overblown), but it still doesn't provide the flexibility of Google Maps (I can drag and adjust routing for example).

     

    Looking forward Google will continue to have the superior product (they own the satellites), as the next big leap in mapping will be live data.   Traffic data first, but eventually street views (think integration of city owned security cameras) and eventually satellite imagery.  

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