October 5th, 2015
Lesson 101 for Apple: If It Works, Don’t Break It
The iPhone has only gone on sale from 21 Sep (i.e. today). In my location, fans were queuing for the new arrival – iPhone 5 since early yesterday. And boy, it was such a crazy queuing and waiting experience for many of the anxious customers waiting to get their hands on a new set of iPhone 5.
Apple Maps: “Designed by Apple from the ground up, Maps gives you turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, and the stunning Flyover feature. All of which may just make this app the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.”
Barely hours later, we heard the tsunami of comments on the mapping function on the iPhone 5. Apparently, Apple has replaced the venerable Google Maps functions with another alternative – Apple’s own mapping service.
And boy, it was amazing. Because of this new map service:
- Pilots could be misled into trying to make an emergency landing in a farm because of an error on a new Apple map tool. Apple’s new iOS 6 maps application has placed the standard airport map symbol on the spot of a 35-acre site called Airfield, in Dundrum – home to a city farm, gardens and cafe.
- Your nearest cafe and refueling station could be further than you thought.
- Straight bridges become wavy bridges; some even went into the water.
- A plaza in Brazil became a Japanese plaza.
- A dam has disappeared.
- A supermarket that had disappeared 6 years ago was still on the map.
- What used to be clear maps are now shrouded in clouds. And thick ones.
- and the list goes on…. numerous reports of inaccuracies such as misspelt/misplaced locations, satellite imagery that are out-dated and/or terribly distorted, and defunct businesses and infrastructure still existing in the map.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
With such a fiasco, will Apple revert to Google maps? Or, will it put back Google maps as a separate mapping application? Well, we just have to watch. Apparently, Google map as an app is in the works, although we cannot be sure how the eventual mapping service will evolve. While we understand teething problems are inevitable, I hope Apple will quickly work on fixes for these problems, and with feedback on the maps, hopefully, the Apple maps will be a more credible contender to the existing Google maps. As it is today, there seemed to a lack of confidence that the Apple mapping service will be reliable enough to serve our mapping needs. To be fair, Google map is also not perfect. I had some experience where the hotel I was looking for was mis-plotted. However, I would say that with crowd-sourced correction and updates, Google maps has become more reliable.
The question is this: If Google does not make available its mapping service, then it will gradually lose that crowd-sourced inputs that had contributed to where it is today. Hence, we might possibly see Google maps coming back on. If Google maps comes back, then where will Apple Maps stand? This question is left to be answered. We shall watch.