The Absurdity Of Apple’s Maps App Critics

  • September 25, 2012

Apple's iOS 6 Maps Apps


Apple’s Maps Apps Being Ridicule

Apple’s Maps Apps debacle has become the talk of the internet recently. In a way you cannot begrudge the critics. It not very often they have something to ridicule Apple about. After all, the Cupertino company has been producing great products that are the envy their competitors. As a result an opportunity like this cannot go amiss. However, I’m still struggling to get my head around is the absurdity of the whole issue. Apple has released their best and most successful iPhone yet. And all the critics can are solely focus on a new Maps application in IOS 6.

No wonder Apple is the biggest technology company in the world in terms of market cap and profits.

Let look at what I meant by absurdity.

First, take a look this article from had this to say about the iPhone 5:

The iPhone 5 looks to be the fastest smartphone we’ve ever tested at

With its mysterious, Apple-designed A6 processor, the iPhone 5 is unique in the world of smartphones. Most high-end phones nowadays run on one of two architectures: ARM’s Cortex-A9, which is used by Nvidia, Texas Instruments and others, and Qualcomm’s Krait. But the A6, as AnandTech discovered, is something completely different—an ARM-compatible system-on-a-chip designed, top to bottom, by Apple.

The AnandTech report had this to say about the iPhone 5:

The A6 SoC makes use of a pair of Apple’s own CPU cores that implement the ARMv7 ISA. These aren’t vanilla Cortex A9s or Cortex A15s, but rather something of Apple’s own design. For its GPU Apple integrated a PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU running at higher clocks than the dual-core 543MP2 in the A5. The result is compute performance that’s similar to the A5X in Apple’s 3rd generation iPad, but with a smaller overall die area.

These two reports illustrated that Apple’s engineering team has manage to create something very special here. The iPhone 5 has outperformed all competing devices on the market (except for the new iPad in some benchmarks) using a dual core CPU according to the AnandTech report.

Despite these awesome results, this is what the first commentator on the AnandTech report had to say:

Certainly left the other devices smoking…. Thing is, the iPhone 5 -excels at what the PS VITA should have been good at, but fails at what a Smartphone should be capable of, thanks to the unforgivably horrible Maps app.

It’s certainly impressive to see what they’ve done with the CPU, GPU and camera… but the Maps app alone makes it a no buy.

Unfortunately, this individual was not alone in bring up the Maps app in their comment on the report. How can you overlook such amazing feats of engineering because the Maps apps on the device have a few glitches that will be sorted out over time. I’m guessing this individual uses an Android smartphone that shuts down occasionally.

Is this absurd or what?

Next, lets look at what Apple’s competitors had to say about it.

The Motorola Mobility –  DROID RAZR team posted this on Twitter:

Looking for 315 E 15th in Manhattan? Google Maps on DROID RAZR M will get you there & not #iLost in Brooklyn.

Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) September 22, 2012

Seriously, can someone please tell me how much of these smartphones were sold by Motorola Mobility? Why waste time poking fun at a competitor who is clearly ahead and not in the same league with you.

No One is Perfect, Not Even Apple

The fact of the matter is, Apple’s new Maps application does not provide the high level of user experience that is expected of an Apple product. The Cupertino said as much in the following statement to AllThingsD on issue:

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it. We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We’re also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.

So, there you have it. It’s a cloud base application similar to Siri, which needs to be introduced to the public in its current half-baked state. And just like Siri, the more people use it the better it will get over time. That’s all there it to it. Some may argue that Apple only have themselves to blame for this. After all, they are the ones that hype up the functionality of the new Maps application at the iOS 6 event. They could have shown more humility and admitted to some of these shortcoming back then. However, I’m of the opinion that this would not have made any difference. Look at what happen with Siri. The company openly admitted that the product was in Beta but was still hammered for releasing a sub – standard product to the market.

In some ways, Apple has become a victim of their own success. The company is renowned for providing great user experience in their products. People have come to expect innovative features in their Apple products and at the same time have an excellent user experience. However, there at times when having great user experience in an innovative product is just possible. Especially if the technology being use is fairly new and requires data from the user to improve. Its not surprising Google seems to enjoy a free pass on pushing beta products and services to the public with little criticism. I guess that just the way things are sometimes.

Another absurd criticism being leveled at the Cupertino company is at a lost that without Steve Jobs and will soon decline. This “lost of way” is apparently evident in the new Maps apps debacle according to these reports.  I’ve written in the past about why Apple has nothing to fear going forward without Steve. Given how well the iPhone 5 has been received, I believe this remains the case. However, my views will not stopped articles of this nature from being published on the internet. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

On the other hand, I’m glad there are sensible writers of the calibre of M.G Siegler and Jean-Louise Gassee, they are prepared to call out these critics for who they are –




Posted by | Posted at September 25, 2012 02:41 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Storm is a technology enthusiast, who resides in the UK. He enjoys reading and writing about technology.

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