Ever tried going to New York, but for some reason drove all the way down to New Jersey? Never? Oops… Boring you must be. Well, try using those early versions of Apple maps and you could just be in line for that. To create the “not so useful” Apple maps, Cupertino had to buy up a handful of digital mapping firms worth million of dollars. The mapping service was released on September 19, 2012 in iOS and replaced Google Maps as the default mapping service for the operating system. Mainly because it was replacing the more popular Google map, Apple map was supposed to hit the ground running — and it did, only that it always ran towards the wrong direction. It was criticized for its inaccuracies which of course was responsible for sending it users to the wrong direction. Just to remind us how not so good Apple maps was, here is some of my favourite Apple maps mistakes;
This screenshot from Apple maps on iOS 6 shows Eiffel tower quite alright, only this time— instead of standing tall, the tower seems to be taking a nap.
This screenshot shows Apple maps seriously trying to stear the user to a very wrong direction. The right place is indicated with the red pointer, but as expected Apple’s map is sending the user towards the opposite direction (the green pointer).
This third screenshot shows Malmo central station in Sweden, only problem is — with clear knowledge of the destination of the user, Apple maps thought it will be way cooler to hide the user’s destination with a white screen. Come on! WTF!
And yes, the ultimate prophecy. This is New York or at least Apple map’s version of new York — it clearly predicts an Apocalypse where the very road the user intended to use to his destination has been melted. Apple maps was simply telling the user ; “stay at home, the Apocalypse is here”.
Images credit: the amazing iOS 6 maps.
Now we all know Apple Maps sucks, Luckily for everyone — Apple thinks so too.
With Google having a good head start in the mapping department, it remains to be seen how much coverage Apple can acquire even as Google continues to update its own map software. Though the earlier versions of Apple maps wasn’t quite a sight to behold, but it has gotten better — Apple improved search and added transit directions last year with iOS 9 release. Getting to Google’s standard wouldn’t be easy, but Apple has gone a long way already. To get to its current status of accuracy and correctness it took Apple over millions of tiny fixes based mostly on users feedbacks. In a recent talk show interview, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services said, “We’ve corrected more than 2.5 million customer feedback that we’ve gotten from customers directly to maps that we’ve corrected and notified them back that we fixed them.” By this, it would mean that more recent releases of Apple maps comes with less sleeping Eiffel towers and apocalyptic predictions. Though Apple sold tens of millions of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus which comes preloaded with Apple’s map software — most Apple users preferred to stick with Google maps. This shows Apple still needs to appeal to its fans about the improvement achieved so far with its mapping service.
Image credit: digitaltrends.com
Apple last year announced that it was sending out a fleet of vans to collect real-world data for its maps, further revealing the Cupertino’s company is still making credible plans to improve its mapping service. With apple clearly stating in its own website that; “Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.” — it is likely that Apple Maps will see a major update with the release of iOS 10 this summer. Also, with equipments such as cameras, LiDAR, and GPS seen on the supposedly Apple vans, its highly likely Cupertino is also planning a “Google street view” sort of thing — brace up Apple fans, Apple maps is getting better.