The release of Apple’s Maps application in iOS 6 has caused much consternation for customers and backlash that has been loud enough to reach mainstream media. Fixing Maps is not something that’s going to happen overnight. Apple’s Tim Cook issued this letter this morning to customers regarding Maps, where he suggests using third-party alternatives while they improve Maps.
The letter offers an explanation as to what went wrong. Apple’s intention here was to improve upon the Maps app, something that required they take on without the help of Google. In many ways, the new app is an improvement, most notably by the included features. The iOS 6 version is the first Maps app to offer turn-by-turn driving directions. Early reviews were extremely positive. In cases where the mapping data is correct, the app does a great job. Over time, people started to realize that the mapping data was problematic. While it was built from the ground up, that’s not a viable excuse, since many customers rely on Maps.
To his credit, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been very forthcoming and honest promising to continue work until it meets the companies incredibly high standard. To help improve the data, which is the culprit of the outcry, Cook is reaching out to customers asking them to provide feedback. The hope here is that by crowdsourcing the data, Apple will be able to respond quickly and rollout improvements. In the case of this app, the changes won’t be in the form of an App Store update. As changes are made to the data, the improvements should be instantaneous. Before you get your hopes up, this is a massive undertaking. Apple’s Maps is worldwide and their must be some level of research conducted to confirm customer feedback, before updating the data.
Make no mistake, it’s a bit of mess. There are some good options, notably Navigon. While we await the return of a Google Maps app to iOS, here’s a quick tutorial on how you can add Google Maps to your iPhone in iOS 6.